Malaysia braces for more storms and storm surges

AP , SEGAMAT, MALAYSIA

Sat, Dec 23, 2006 - Page 5

Widespread floods in southern Malaysia this week have killed at least six people and displaced 60,000, officials said yesterday, amid warnings of continued violent weather and storm surges.

Waters appeared to recede in parts of the worst-hit state, Johor, after nearly a week.

However, hundreds of towns remained inundated as the rains continued, said Badrul Shah, deputy director of the government's Disaster and Crisis Division.

In the town of Segamat, about 170km northwest of state capital, Johor Bahru, schools were filled with families sharing sandwiches and other simple meals and keeping watch over their children and belongings.

More than 60,000 people have been evacuated from homes across four states since the unusually heavy downpours began last Sunday.

The meteorological department expected rains to ease yesterday over Johor, but the department warned of extensive thunderstorms through tomorrow over the South China Sea, forecasting heavy rains and storms for three eastern states.

The department said in a statement that strong winds and rough seas, with waves up to 5.5m, were dangerous to coastal and shipping activities and oil platform workers.

Some village homes dotting the east coast were partly destroyed by surging waves on Thursday, television news footage showed.