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Asia Minute: Malaysia is recovering slowly from crippling 'once in a century' floods

Malaysia Floods december 2021
Vincent Thian/AP
/
AP
Damaged cars are seen on a riverside after the flooding at Hulu Langat, outskirt of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2021.(AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

While much of the world continues to focus on the latest developments of the pandemic, in parts of Southeast Asia, tens of thousands of people are still recovering from recent flooding.

It’s been nearly four weeks since a tropical depression swept through much of Malaysia.

Over the next two weeks, more rains pounded coastlines, and flooding spread across the Malaysian peninsula.

During one single day, it rained more in the capital of Kuala Lumpur than it usually does in a month — even in monsoon season.

As the rains lingered and floods continued, more than 50 people were killed — in one of the country’s deadliest natural disasters in the past 25 years.

According to Malaysia’s National Disaster Management Agency, more than 70,000 people were displaced — and in all, more than 125,000 people across eight states have been affected by the severe weather.

The Secretary General of the country’s Environment and Water Ministry called the period of the most intense rains and flooding “something beyond expectations and that only occurs once every 100 years.”

Singapore’s Channel News Asia reported this week that recovery from the flooding in Malaysia remains slow.

The government is also pursuing a multi-million dollar grant from the United Nations to help develop a national plan for climate adaptation — including dealing with issues of agricultural and food security — infrastructure and public health and water.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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