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Monday, January 15, 2007

Floods force Malaysia evacuation

A second wave of flooding has forced authorities in Malaysia to evacuate more than 90,000 people from their homes in the southern state of Johor.

Major rivers have burst their banks cutting off a number of towns.

One town was completely submerged, with only rooftops standing above water in some areas, local media reported.

The new floods come as many were returning home from shelters following the first round of flooding in December that killed at least 17 people.

Heavy rains have deluged Johor, the state that borders Singapore, for four days and forecasts show no sign of it easing.

Some 355 relief centres have been set up on higher ground to shelter the huge number of displaced people.

There are unconfirmed reports of two deaths among flood evacuees from leptospirosis, a water-borne disease that is spread through rat, dog and cattle urine.

The government is reported to be mobilising teams from across the country to establish medical units at all the relief centres in an attempt to try to avert a health crisis.

Thousands of people were already living in shelters in Johor following the first round of flooding which struck in late December.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said late on Friday that a state of emergency may be declared if the floods worsen. He said the government would closely monitor the situation.

Source : BBC

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