KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — 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.
Police said in a statement Monday that a 23-year-old woman reported missing was believed to be driving to work earlier in the day on a flooded road in southern Johor state when her car was washed away. Rescuers retrieved the car hours later and found her body.
A man driving to work in a palm oil plantation in Johor was similarly found dead recently after rescuers retrieved his car from floodwaters. Three older people also drowned.
Johor, the country’s second-largest state bordering Singapore with four million people, is the worst affected with over 40,000 evacuated to schools and community centers. The number of evacuees has dropped from over 50,000 a few days ago.
Several other states including remote areas on Borneo island were also hit.
Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim visited flood victims Sunday in Johor and vowed to speed up flood mitigation projects in the state. “This matter cannot be delayed and should be dealt with more seriously so that (flooding) does not happen again,” he tweeted.
The Meteorological Department has said the country was experiencing its sixth episode of continuous heavy rain from the annual monsoon season that started in November. In December, tens of thousands of people were also evacuated due to flooding.
Images posted by police in Johor showed roads and homes disappearing under muddy waters, with only rooftops visible.
Further rain and storms are predicted Tuesday in parts of Johor and eastern Malaysian states on Borneo, which could cause more flash floods. Authorities also warned waters in over a dozen rivers nationwide have reached dangerous levels.