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Asia Minute: Floods force tens of thousands of Malaysians to evacuate

Army transporting aids at Lengga town in Johor state, Malaysia, Tuesday, March 7, 2023. Malaysian police have found the body of a young woman trapped in a car that was swept away by rushing waters, the fifth death of seasonal floods that have also forced more than 43,000 people to flee their homes. (AP Photo)
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Army transporting aids at Lengga town in Johor state, Malaysia, Tuesday, March 7, 2023. Malaysian police have found the body of a young woman trapped in a car that was swept away by rushing waters, the fifth death of seasonal floods that have also forced more than 43,000 people to flee their homes. (AP Photo)

Much of the state has been experiencing a run of rainy weather lately, but one part of Southeast Asia is facing much more extreme circumstances.

Heavy flooding has forced more than 50,000 residents of southern Malaysia from their homes in recent days.

On top of storms that have rolled through the region since late February, torrential rains have recently pounded the area.

One of the hardest hit provinces is also one of the country's most heavily populated: Johor.

That’s the part of Malaysia that's right on the border with Singapore, which sits at the southern tip of the Malaysian peninsula.

The flooding has been so extensive that Singapore's Minister for Sustainability and the Environment is warning there will be shortages of vegetables in her country — and higher prices.

The Straits Times reports at least 14 rivers in southern Malaysia remain above the danger level.

Monsoon season in Malaysia usually runs from November until March, with heavier rains coming closer to the end of the year.

This year the rains are lingering and the flooding is worse.

Al Jazeera reports deforestation and over-development have exacerbated conditions — which are also impacted by climate change.

Residents are starting to clean up in some areas, but forecasters warn more rain is coming later this week.

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