Flash floods hit Penang hard during downpour

BUTTERWORTH: Several parts of Penang have suffered flash floods following a downpour while a man died when a tree crushed the house he was in at Kampung Perlis.

Among the worst hit places on the mainland are Sungai Permatang Rawa and residential areas in Prai, Butterworth, and Bukit Mertajam. On the island, Cintra Street, Chulia Street, Church Street and Kimberly Street were flooded as drains overflowed.

Many residents had to be ferried from their homes in Jalan P. Ramlee and Jalan Terengganu by rescue personnel after flood waters reached waist level at about 6pm.

Several minor landslides were reported in Balik Pulau, Minden Heights, Hong Seng Estate and Paya Terubong; 13 people had to be evacuated.

Firemen worked for hours to prise the body of the man – a construction worker in his 30s from Myanmar – from under the fallen tree.

Housewife Zanariah Baharom, 44, who lives in Sungai Permatang Rawa, said the area has been flooding for more than 10 years, but yesterday’s is the worst.

“The water damaged the entire kitchen of my home,” she said, adding that the family hopes the state’s flood mitigation efforts will end the problem.

Deep trouble: Residents wading in floodwaters in Jalan P. Ramlee, Penang. — CHAN BOON KAI/The Star
Deep trouble: Residents wading in floodwaters in Jalan P. Ramlee, Penang. — CHAN BOON KAI/The Star

Factory worker Muhammad Azuan, 41, said he was at work when the floods hit at around 3pm.

“It floods about 10 times a year and each time, the kitchen and ground floor bathroom are affected,” he said.

Penanti assemblyman Dr Norlela Ariffin said the areas in Guar Jering and Guar Perahu are the worst hit.

“Thousands of villagers have been told to prepare for evacuation and we have deployed volunteers to assist,” she said.

“The floods are a warning that hillside clearing must be controlled.”

On the island, homes in Kampung Masjid, Kampung Makam, Kampung Dodol, Jalan Langkawi and Jalan Perak in Jelutong are badly affected.

Flash floods and minor landslides occurred in Sungai Pinang and Sungai Korok in Balik Pulau, where 90 people were moved out, while water levels went over one metre in Bukit Titi, Sungai Pinang and Jalan Besar.

Penang Island City Council workers were seen clearing fallen trees and broken branches along roads in Balik Pulau and Relau in the rain.

No casualties or deaths due to the floods have been reported.

A photograph posted by the council on Facebook shows a man standing on his car bonnet in Relau after the vehicle stalled in floodwaters.

At the Penang International Airport, its senior manager Ramzi Ahmad confirmed that the bad weather affected the landing of four flights.

The planes had to be diverted to Langkawi or told to return to Kuala Lumpur.

The downpour is expected to continue until today and the state meteorological department has issued an orange alert for persistent heavy rain.

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