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14 dead, 70,000 displaced in Malaysian floods

Days of torrential rain triggered some of the worst flooding in years across the country at the weekend, swamping cities and villages and cutting off major roads

The Malaysian military used boats Tuesday to distribute food to desperate people trapped in their homes after massive floods, as the death toll rose to 14 with over 70,000 displaced.

Days of torrential rain triggered some of the worst flooding in years across the country at the weekend, swamping cities and villages and cutting off major roads.

Some parts of state capital Shah Alam were still under water Tuesday, and military personnel in boats distributed food to people stuck in their homes and government shelters.

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“My house is totally damaged, my two cars are wrecked,” the 29-year-old told AFP.

He is among a growing number attacking what they say is a slow and inadequate official response.

An AFP journalist in one hard-hit Shah Alam neighbourhood saw people desperate for food snatching items from a devastated supermarket.

Opposition MP Fuziah Salleh described the official response as “hopeless” and “incompetent”.

Opposition politicians have accused the government of ignoring their calls to better prepare for the monsoon season, from November to February, particularly by improving drainage in densely populated urban areas.

But with reports of people still missing, it is expected to increase.

Evacuees are being housed in government relief centres but officials have warned to expect a rise in coronavirus cases linked to the crowded shelters.

“I’ve been doing business for more than 24 years… this has never happened before,” said Mohammad Awal, whose cosmetic shop outside Kuala Lumpur was flooded.

Global warming has been linked to worsening floods. Because a warmer atmosphere holds more water, climate change increases the risk and intensity of flooding from extreme rainfall.

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