The northeastern states of peninsular Malaysia were hit by massive flooding, which residents described as the worst seen in the region in more than two decades.
At least 120,000 have been evacuated as floodwaters intensified in the past two days. Aside from heavy rainfall, scientists blamed the gravitational pull of the moon for the high tide that caused the flooding in many coastal areas.
Social media is being maximized to coordinate relief and rescue operations. The #mybanjir (Malaysian flood) website was created to allow flood victims to receive and send SMS about their status and location. Netizens are using the Twitter hashtags #mybanjir, #Banjir2014, #PrayForPantaiTimur, and #PrayForKelantan to monitor the flood situation.
Prime Minister Najib Razak drew flak after he was seen playing golf with United States President Barack Obama while Malaysia was being battered by floodwaters.
The flood has inspired many Malaysians to help in the relief effort. But the flood has not yet receded and once the water is gone, the next challenge is the rehabilitation of damaged communities. It will be a very difficult new year for Malaysia’s eastern states.
Read more: globalvoicesonline.org – Written by Mong Palatino