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Wednesday December 20, 2006
JOHOR BARU: Continuous rain over the past 24 hours caused rivers to burst their banks, spilling water into streets and villages, and bringing the state to a virtual standstill.
Sungai Segamat in Segamat, Sungai Skudai in Johor Baru and Sungai Mengkibol in Kluang were among five rivers whose waters overflowed.
At press time, 26 main roads were closed to traffic and nine cases of landslide had occurred.
So far, there has been no fatality because rescue teams managed to get the people to higher ground.
Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman warned Johoreans to prepare for the worst as heavy rain was expected to continue until Friday.
Malacca was also not spared. Close to 200 people were evacuated in Jasin district, while a bridge in Durian Tunggal town had to be closed because the river overflowed.
As of 5pm yesterday, more than 3,700 people who vacated their houses in Johor Baru had been placed in 13 relief centres.
Johor Baru (North) OCPD Asst Comm Ruslan Hassan advised the people not to return home until the authorities give the all-clear.
“We had to rescue 29 people stranded on rooftops. These people ignored the danger and went home to salvage their stuff, but the water rose too fast,” said ACP Ruslan.
In Muar, more than 1,600 people were moved to nine relief centres. Flooded areas included Lenga, Pagoh, Gersik, Sagil, Bakri, Bukit Gambir, Tangkak, Sungai Mati, Kampung Batu 23, Gombang, Felda Maokil, Kampung Paya Redan, Kampung Paya Lempah, Kampung Paya Pulai and Kampung Teratai.
Muar police chief Asst Comm Mohd Nizar Mohd Ali reminded parents to keep a tight rein on their children and not let them play in the flood waters.
In Kluang, close to 3,000 people from 20 villages fled their homes, while 540 residents from Parit Raja in Batu Pahat and 170 people from Pontian had to seek shelter at relief centres.
Johor Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) acting director Chong Chee Han said water in the Sembrong Dam and Machap Dam was at a high level, but the DID could not release the water.
“If water is channelled into the rivers, the low-lying areas of Parit Raja and Simpang Rengam could be inundated,” said Chong, who attributed the high rainfall to the North-East Monsoon.
Meanwhile, the Army has put seven brigades and 20 boats on standby.
An Army spokesman said the military would send in a Nuri helicopter for rescue operations if necessary.
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