Three-hour downpour causes havoc in city

PHOTO GALLERY: Kuala Lumpur hit by floods 

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KUALA LUMPUR: Hundreds of thousands of people were caught in chaos caused by flash floods that saw one person drowned in what has been described as the worst deluge yet to hit the city for the past year. 

Hundreds of cars were damaged when underground car parks were turned into giant pools as police reported that several people were also injured in various accidents due to the havoc. 

The three-hour rain that brought much relief from the heat started at 4pm and within 30 minutes became a heavy downpour trapping the hundreds of thousands as they tried to make their way home from work. 

Even the Sentul Fire Station fell victim to flood waters and all the engines had to be parked outside as the water level in the building was chest-high at the peak. 

City Mayor Datuk Shaid Mohd Taufik had to take to a motor-cycle to get to visit the various affected places.  

City Hall’s 24-hour monitoring centre also reported flooding at the nearby areas of Dataran Merdeka, Masjid Jamek, St. Mary’s Cathedral and parts of Jalan Sultan Ismail. 

The low-lying areas of Kampung Baru, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Masjid India, Jalan Tun Razak, Jalan Gereja, Old Klang Road and Kampung Sungai Udang in Segambut also reported flash flooding. 

A Federal Territory Drainage and Irrigation (DID) spokesman said that the water levels for Sungai Gombak and Sungai Klang were at critical levels from 4pm to 8pm. 

A total of about 1,200 residents in three areas were evacuated to several centres by City Hall, Red Cresent and police personnel after their homes were submerged in water. 

Radio stations and newspaper offices were inundated with telephone calls from people trapped in their offices or cars as they sought more information about the flood. 

Former journalist Arnold Loh, who was trapped in the Jalan TAR area, said that at the height of the flash floods, the water was “just one foot from the entrance to the Masjid Jamek LRT station.” 

Major throughfares in the city centre such as Jalan Sultan Ismail, Jalan Perak, Jalan Pinang, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Jalan P. Ramlee, Jalan Ampang, Jalan Tun Razak, Jalan Tun Perak, Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, Jalan Raja Laut, Jalan Ipoh and Jalan Pudu were turned into a massive car park with cars not being to move. 

Drivers desperately tried to find various ways and means to get out of the gridlock by using small roads and side lanes such as the normally quiet Jalan U Thant, Jalan Kia Peng and Jalan Ampang Hilir. 

Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd (SPNB) corporate communications manager Katherine Chew said the Putraline and Starline light rail transit systems were not affected by the floods. 

“However, passengers could not get out of the two Masjid Jamek stations because the outside areas were under water,” she said.  

The traffic situation slowly returned to normal at about 9pm.  

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