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More Than 120,000 Evacuated as Malaysia Hit by Worst Flooding in Decades

A man sits on a float tires in a flood affected area in Temerloh, 150 km (93 miles) outside of Kuala Lumpur, December 27, 2014. Photo by SAMMY FOO. Copyright Demotix

A man sits on a float tires in a flood affected area in Temerloh, 150 km (93 miles) outside of Kuala Lumpur, December 27, 2014. Photo by SAMMY FOO. Copyright Demotix

The northeastern states of peninsular Malaysia were hit by massive flooding, which residents described as the worst seen in the region in more than two decades.

At least 120,000 have been evacuated as floodwaters intensified in the past two days. Aside from heavy rainfall, scientists blamed the gravitational pull of the moon for the high tide that caused the flooding in many coastal areas.

Social media is being maximized to coordinate relief and rescue operations. The #mybanjir (Malaysian flood) website was created to allow flood victims to receive and send SMS about their status and location. Netizens are using the Twitter hashtags #mybanjir, #Banjir2014, #PrayForPantaiTimur, and #PrayForKelantan to monitor the flood situation.

Below are some photos that show the devastating impact of the flood:

Google has uploaded a crisis map to show the areas threatened with flooding:

flood_threat

Prime Minister Najib Razak drew flak after he was seen playing golf with United States President Barack Obama while Malaysia was being battered by floodwaters:

In response, Najib cancelled his year-end vacation in the U.S. to lead the government’s disaster response:

Malaysian Insider has written an editorial criticizing the slow and inefficient disaster preparation of the government:

The authorities should be able to predict, prepare and inform people that floods are expected, and list out the relief centres and available food stock.

Yet neither those in affected areas or Malaysians elsewhere knew what hit them at the tail-end of one of the worst years in the country's history.

We need more than a transformation, we need reforms of attitudes and operating procedures.

The flood has inspired many Malaysians to help in the relief effort. But the flood has not yet receded and once the water is gone, the next challenge is the rehabilitation of damaged communities. It will be a very difficult new year for Malaysia’s eastern states.

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