KOTA KINABALU: A freak flash flood caused a sea of destruction with uprooted trees, overturned vehicles and collapsed wooden structures in several districts in Sabah on Wednesday (Sept 15).
Pictures of muddy homes, some still inundated with floodwaters, partially-submerged roads and vehicles were shared on social media on Thursday (Sept 16).
Many were seen cleaning their homes while others were still waiting for floodwaters to subside.
According to state Civil Defence officials, as of 8am there were 68 evacuees from 27 households in Penampang and Putatan.
The number is expected to rise as rescue efforts are still ongoing and there are many hard to access areas.
Many landslide victims in the Penampang area scrambled to safety and managed to evade death or injury.
A family of six in Penampang ran out of their house when they heard a loud gushing noise.
"Our whole house was hit by the landslide. Everything is destroyed," said one of them who did not want to be identified.
They have since taken shelter at a relative's house nearby.
Meanwhile, many were severely affected by floods in Penampang, where a woman who identified herself as Elizabeth said they did not expect the floodwaters to rise so quickly.
"The floodwater came gushing in and we had no time to salvage our things like the fridge, the children's school books, mattresses and more," said the mother of four from Inobong.
Angel Albert in Kg Togop, said it was scary how the river water continued to rise although the rain had stopped the night before.
"This is among the worst floods I've experienced. The water level is almost waist high and our washing machine, fridge, beds, table and all got hit," said the 19-year-old.
Residents in Luyang, Bundusan and its surrounding areas were also perplexed by the extreme flash flood, affecting even areas that are not usually hit.
"This is climate change I guess," said a businesswoman who did not want to be identified.
A cashier who has been living in a residential area in Bundusan for the past 30 years said she had never seen the floods hitting so high and covering the main roads in her area.
"The rains were not heavier than what we've experienced before but the speed the flood came in so fast," said the mother of one.
In Kasigui, Alex Tham said his car, motorcycle, and everything else at home were destroyed.
"We always have flash floods but seldom this bad," he said.
Those affected are urging the government to conduct flood mitigation efforts to prevent future occurrences.
Sabah's west coast areas, especially Penampang, Kota Kinabalu and its surrounding villages, have been hit by floods and landslides over a dozen times over the past few months this year.