KUCHING, Malaysia - Heavy flooding in Malaysia's Sarawak state has forced 5,578 people from their homes as of Wednesday and into relief shelters.
High tides and rain since last night in the Kuching, Bau and Serian districts of the island of Borneo caused water levels to rise, Bernama news agency reports today.
The number of people seeking shelter in 21 relief centers rose sharply from 3,230 last night to 5,578 early this morning, according to Sarawak Department of Civil Defense public relations officer Siti Huzaimah Ibrahim.
Emergency crews are now ramping up efforts to help local people reach safety.
Nearly 1,000 fire department personnel have been deployed, along with two helicopters, 115 road vehicles and 45 boats to evacuate flood victims, Sarawak Fire and Rescue Department assistant director of operations Farhan Sufyan Borhan said.
Though the rain is petering out in many parts of Sarawak, and the Sarawak River has begun receding, floodwaters remain high and have yet to significantly drop, Siti Huzaimah said.
This week has been a wet one for Malaysia, where floods have inundated parts of both peninsular Malaysia and the western island of Borneo.