Floods kill at least 12 in Malaysia, Thailand


KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, AP

Floods triggered by torrential monsoon downpours have killed at least 12 people in northern Malaysia and nearby parts of Thailand and left several thousand stranded, officials said Thursday.

At least seven people were killed in Malaysia since Monday in Kelantan state, which borders Thailand and in Terengganu state, police and local officials said.

Among those drowned by the swirling flood waters that swept away many village huts were a three-year-old boy in Kelantan and two other children in Terengganu, police in the two states said.

Officials in Thailand said at least five people, including three children, had died in the floods, either by electrocution or drowning.

More than 6,000 people in the two Malaysian states had been forced to evacuate their homes as the government mobilized hundreds of rescue workers and warned of further flooding and landslides.

A major highway linking Kelantan and Terengganu was also closed due to rising waters, and most rivers in the two states exceeded their danger levels. Flights to Kelantan were also canceled or rescheduled due to bad weather.

Continuous rain for 48 hours also left at least 4,000 holiday travelers stranded in Haadyai, a town on Thai border, north of Malaysia, The Star newspaper said.

Scores of buses bringing Malaysian tourists to the resort area were turned back at the border because of the massive floods, The Star said.

The national Bernama news agency reported that 900 passengers were stranded in a province in Kelantan on Wednesday because trains could not move on the submerged tracks. They had to continue their journey by bus on Thursday.

Malaysia’s environment minister warned that the country would suffer more floods and landslides during the monsoon season this year due to unusually heavy rain.

“We expect more heavy rain in the east coast states and the Meteorological Services Department has issued a red warning to the relevant authorities,” Law Heing Deng said late Wednesday.