Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka Hit by Heavy Rains, Floods: AIR

According to catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide, the rains of the past week across Southeast Asia have been much higher than average, even for a period during which Southeast Asian countries normally experience heavy monsoon rains.

AIR noted that “severe flooding has been reported in Indonesia’s Aceh Province; the Malaysian states of Kelantan, Terrengganu, and Pahang; southern provinces of Thailand; and Sri Lanka. In Malaysia, the rains have been called the worst in several decades.

“In Aceh Province in Indonesia, the flooding came just as the area was preparing to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Boxing Day Tsunami that killed an estimated 230,000 people. Currently, more than 120,000 people from seven districts in Aceh Province have been displaced. According to Indonesia’s National Agency for Disaster Management, floodwaters reached as high as four meters on Wednesday, December 24, in the hard-hit districts of North Aceh and East Aceh.”

According to AIR, Malaysia’s northeastern states were hardest hit by a week of above average rainfall. “Evacuees number roughly 30,000 in each of the following states: Kelantan, Terengganu, and Pahang.

“About 7,500 have evacuated in Perak, and another 328 in Johor and 32 in Selangor. Five people have died in Kelantan, which is considered the hardest hit area in Malaysia. About 60 percent of households in this state are without electricity, clean water and food are difficult to access, and telephone service is spotty.

“In one area, hundreds of logs that had been stored at the top of a hill were dislodged and floated down to block main roads and the exit of Kampung Rantau Panjang to Bukit Besi, cutting off thousands who live in the villages in the area that had already lost electricity and telecommunications services. The logs could continue to move and damage homes as well.

“In Thailand, about 8,000 people have been displaced. Disaster zones were declared in eight provinces by Thailand’s Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation on December 26: Surat Thani, Nakhon Sri Thammarat, Pattalung, Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat, Songkhla, and Trang. Fourteen people in southern Thailand have been killed, and 184,000 households affected. The border between Thailand and Malaysia remains closed.

“In Sri Lanka, The hardest hit area is Badulla district in the southeast where 14 have been killed by mudslides. About 106,000 people have been displaced.”

AIR also forecast that, despite a “brief respite, more rain is expected for Southeast Asia during the next few days, and authorities have warned affected countries to brace for more flooding.”

Source: AIR Worldwide