Floods in Malaysia leave five dead and 100,000 displaced

The country's president has returned from his holiday in Hawaii to oversee the relief effort

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The Independent Online

Five people have been left dead and 100,000 forced to leave their homes in Malaysia as the country faces its worst flooding in 30 years.

The country’s Prime Minister Najib Razak has cut short his holiday in the United States to return and focus on the natural disaster.

Five Malaysian states have been significantly affected by the flooding, caused by unusually strong torrential rains.

Authorities have helped evacuate villages in affected areas, with more than 105,000 people seeking shelter in schools, community halls and other make-shift relief centres.

The five people killed include a toddler who was swept away by strong currents when she fell from her mother's arms while wading through waters to a relief centre.

The prime minister has come in for criticism in local media for holidaying in the US state of Hawaii, where he has previously been seen golfing with US president Barack Obama.

Local residents walk through the flooded streets in Pengkalan Chepa, near Kota Bharu

In a statement, Najib said he would fly back to Malaysia today and oversee the response to the floods.

"I am deeply concerned by the floods. I feel for the people who have lost their homes, and the families who have lost loved ones," he said. "I want to see the situation for myself and be with the people."

Najib, who is from the country’s dominant conservative party, the United Malays National Organisation, added that he would travel straight to the flood-ravaged state of Kelantan upon his return.

He insisted that he had been kept in the loop by officials while he was abroad.

Local residents use trucks to cross flooded streets in Pengkalan Chepa, near Kota Bharu

Yesterday the country’s government ordered the deployment of more helicopters, boats and land vehicles to help with the relief effort.

Bad weather and high floodwaters are said to be making it difficult to transport displaced people and food supplies in and out of affected regions.

Heavy rain is expected to continue until the weekend, according to country’s the meteorological office.