Description of the disaster
Heavy rains continued in Malaysia since they began to make its mark in the northern states of the western peninsula from the end of November 2019. At the end of November 2019, water level rose in some rivers in Kelantan and Terengganu. On 29 November 2019, Sungai Golok at Jenob Tanah Merah and Sungai Lebir in Tualang Kuala Krai breached its warning level respectively1 . As for Terengganu states, the levels of three rivers in Setiu and one in Besut namely Sungai Nerus in Kampung Langkap, Sungai Setiu in Kampung Besut, Sungai Chalok in Chalok Bridge and Sungai Besut in Kampung La had breached the danger point.
The flood caused massive chaos and disturbance in the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia. More than 15,000 people were evacuated into designated relief centers in Kelantan and Terengganu on 3 December 2019.
The Pasir Mas district in Kelantan was the worst affected district with almost 2,000 families evacuated to evacuation centers. The district remained to be accessible only to watercrafts. The Malaysian National Security Council (NSC), the National Agency for Disaster Administration (NADMA) and the District Offices in the respective affected areas were coordinating the evacuation activities with the support of the Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department and Malaysian Civil Defense Force or ‘Jabatan Pertahanan Awam Malaysia’ (JPAM).
The water level receded and most of the evacuation centers were closed on 5 December 20193 . Since then, most of the families returned to their homes and some were living in their relative’s houses.
Malaysian Red Crescent Society was monitoring the situation, and the second wave expected in the end of December 2019 fortunately did not exceed any danger or warning levels. The rapid emergency response including evacuation and support activities by the Government of Malaysia, MRCS and other stakeholders was effective for the affected communities to survive during the time, but the damages caused by the floods, left the communities in a critical situation with persisting needs and priorities for early recovery and returning to their day to day lives.