Floods force Malaysians here to buy vital supplies

Floods force Malaysians here to buy vital supplies

Flood victims from Rantau Panjang in Malaysia's Kelantan state have begun crossing the Sungai Kolok River to buy food and water over the border in Thailand's Narathiwat province.

Officials in Sungai Kolok district said yesterday that flooding has devastated much of northern Malaysia, particularly in Kelantan. Parts of Sungai Kolok have also been inundated.

The situation in Malaysia has prompted many residents of Rantao Panjang to cross the river border to shop for items such as candles and instant noodles at Sungai Kolok municipality market.

The authorities said the Malaysians had started crossing the river border over the past few days, since flooding on the Thai side had begun to subside. 

Residents of Rantao Panjang have been living without lights for four days, because the town's authorities decided to switch off electricity to the community due to the floods.  

Areas by the Sungai Kolok River in Tak Bai and Sungai Kolok districts remained under water yesterday following floods that started on Dec 17. Water continued to overflow the banks of the river, submerging homes in 13 districts in the province.

Floods halted business in several communities.

At least six petrol stations in Sungai Kolok district were closed temporarily as locals and Malaysian people queued up to buy petrol, causing the stations to run out of supplies.  

In Yala, water levels in the Pattani River increased 4-5 centimetres after authorities started releasing water from Bang Lang dam on Friday.

The water had to be discharged from the dam to ensure its safe operation, since rainfall between Dec 17 and yesterday filled the storage facility to capacity.    

Residents in riverside communities on the banks of the Pattani River in Bannang Sata and Krong Pinang districts have been affected by discharge from the dam, but locals in low-lying areas have not yet been hit.

Kard Sentohyep, chief of the Flood and Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Centre in Yala, said floods have affected more than 100,000 people from 37,000 families since Dec 17. Three people have died and two others have been injured in the province.

The floods also caused the closure of 40 schools there, while at least 14,000 rai of agricultural land was submerged, and hundreds of village roads damaged by the inundation.

The Meteorological Department issued a weather warning for five southern provinces yesterday.

The arrival of northeastern monsoons over the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea is contributing to strong winds and rain and could cause flooding today, the department said.

According to the weather warning, rain is expected in Phatthalung, Songkhla, Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat.

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