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Military deployed in Penang as Malaysia floods displace thousands

Popular tourist destination has been hit by torrential rains and strong winds since late Saturday

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 05 November, 2017, 2:52pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 05 November, 2017, 10:45pm

Military forces were deployed on Sunday to help thousands of displaced people in Malaysia’s northern state of Penang, officials said, as floodwater rose from more than 24 hours of incessant rain.

At least 2,000 people had been evacuated and 80 per cent of the state was hit by typhoon-like winds and heavy rain, chief minister Lim Guan Eng said in a statement.

He said floodwater had risen up to four metres. Lim also warned in a Facebook post that more rain was expected and advised residents to stay at home.

Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the National Security Council was coordinating with police and the military to assist flood victims after a request for help from Penang.

Hundreds of trees were toppled and roads were submerged, leaving many areas practically paralysed, Malaysian news agency Bernama reported. At least two people had been killed, it said.

Hundreds of people had been placed in temporary shelters after their homes were flooded or destroyed by the storm.

A hospital was also hit by the flooding, prompting the evacuation of over 100 patients and four babies.

“We remain fearful that there may still be untoward incidents because of the strong winds, the like of which have never experienced before, and flash floods might recur,” Lim said.

Britain’s Prince Charles and his wife Camilla are due to visit Penang on Tuesday as part of a tour of Malaysia.

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse