KOTA KINABALU: Persistent rain in Sabah's interior over the past several days has worsened the flood situation in Keningau, Tenom and Beaufort districts, forcing the evacuation of nearly 2,600 people from 32 villages over the past 24 hours.
Sabah Fire and Rescue Services Department spokesman Affendy Ramin said Friday that Tenom district was the worst hit with more 2,200 people from 24 villages evacuated.
He said another 285 people from two villages in nearby Keningau district had been forced to leave their homes while 48 people from six villages in Beaufort were also evacuated.
Another 12 roads and bridges were cut off due to flooding or landslides, he added.
Meanwhile, state Assistant Minister of Agriculture and Food Industries Datuk Sairin Karno said floodwaters had receded in certain areas within Keningau and Tenom districts, although many evacuees remained in relief centres.
"The flooding was quite severe and in some places, houses were submerged to the rooftops," said Sairin, who is the Liawan state assemblyman.
He said the floodwater levels went up so rapidly that many victims had no time to save their belongings.
"Some are facing the prospects of returning to seriously damaged houses, filled with mud and damaged television sets, furniture and clothes,” Sairin added.
He said Welfare Department officials trying to asses the damage were unable to reach certain areas due to the floods.
Sairin said villagers in Keningau and Tenom were bracing for more floods as rain was continuing in the Crocker Range area.