“Where’s the help?” : Malaysian Prime Minister under fire after deadly floods | Climate News

The worst floods since 2014 have left at least 48 dead and five missing as the country seeks to fund the development of a climate change adaptation plan.

Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob faces a deluge of criticism, with locals accusing his government of reacting too slowly after the worst flooding the country has seen in years.

Days of torrential rain caused rivers to overflow last week, inundating towns and forcing tens of thousands of people to flee their homes, killing dozens.

Damaged appliances and soaked furniture were piled up on the streets and outside homes in flood-affected areas as residents and volunteers continued a massive clean-up campaign.

Affected residents were frustrated with authorities and many were still asking where help was.

“I’m angry. There is no help from the government… We need the money to rebuild our lives,” said Asniyati Ismail, who lives in a residential enclave in Shah Alam, the capital of Selangor state. .

“There is mud everywhere, everything has been destroyed,” she told AFP news agency, as her two children helped her clean up.

The mounds of garbage left in the area after the floods have also raised fears of epidemics.

Selangor, which surrounds the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, was the state hardest hit by the flooding.

Many residents of Shah Alam district were stranded in their homes with barely food for days, before being evacuated to boats in a chaotic rescue operation.

“The government has been absolutely slow in the rescue mission,” a resident of Kartik Rao told AFP.

“And now they’re slow in the cleanup operation. Even after seven days, the garbage in this neighborhood has not been cleaned up.

Risks associated with climate change

Prime Minister Ismail Sabri admitted “weaknesses” in the flood response, but promised improvements in the future.

“This post-flood work needs good coordination because I do not want any delay in the implementation process, including in the assistance to the victims of the floods”, said the Prime Minister as quoted by Malay Mail during of his Sunday visit to the affected area in Selangor. .

“We also need to prepare for the second wave of flooding, if it happens. “

Malaysia is hit by floods every year during the monsoon season, from November to February, but this month’s were the worst since 2014.

The floods have left at least 48 dead and five missing in Malaysia, officials said.

Global warming has been linked to worsening flooding.

An aerial view shows vehicles submerged in water in Shah Alam, one of the areas in Selangor state worst affected by flooding last week [Ebrahim Harris/Reuters]

Because a warmer atmosphere holds more water, climate change increases the risk and intensity of flooding from extreme precipitation.

Kawitha Maratha, 39, and her four children were rescued by a boat after rapidly rising floodwaters on the second floor of their home in Shah Alam.

Her husband is deceased.

“The flood destroyed our lives,” she said.

Amid the deadly floods, the government said on Monday it was seeking $ 3 million from the United Nations Green Climate Fund (GCF) to develop a national climate change adaptation plan.

In response to questions sent to the Ministry of Environment and Water on Malaysia’s approach to climate adaptation, Secretary-General Zaini Ujang told Reuters news agency that the ministry would seek the GCF funds to help develop a national adaptation plan by the end of next year.

The plan will focus on areas such as water, agricultural and food security, public health, forestry and infrastructure, Zaini said in a written response.

“The ministry also has long-term plans to apply for climate funds that can help implement programs dealing with the impact of climate change,” he said.

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