Some 500 villagers in southern Sarawak have been evacuated to higher ground as the flood level continues to rise.
The weather has worsened as heavy rains were reported in the Kuching, Bau, Serian and Lundu districts Sunday morning.
Traffic along certain stretches on the Pan Borneo Highway, like Batu Kawa-Lundu Road, has been cut off due to flooding or landslides.
Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan Hong Nam said more villagers in the low-lying areas were being evacuated as the flood situation had worsened. Nineteen evacuation centres have been opened.
“We are bracing for the worst. The Red Alert warning will continue until Jan 14,” he told a media briefing at the state flood operations room at Wisma Bapa Malaysia here at about 10.15am Sunday.
He said the rain clouds which had moved inland from South China Sea two days ago would bring more rains in the next few days.
The city has experienced rainfalls about four times’ higher than average in the past 24 hours.
Another Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Alfred Jabu said the Suba Buan area in the Bau district was worst hit and it was under nearly 5m of floodwater.
Rescuers have evacuated 108 villagers from their homes.
Dr Chan, who is also state flood relief committee chairman, said the landslide in Kampung Bidak in Padawan near here damaged two houses but there were no casualties.
Public Works Department workers have carried out earth-clearing work along roads affected by the landslides.
He said the state government would seek military aircraft from Labuan and deploy helicopters from state-owned Hornbill Skywards to send food and other daily essentials to villagers in areas which had been cut off.
All the elected representatives concerned have been asked to go back to their consitutencies to help out in evacuation and relief work, he said.
Dr Chan said the all the six gates at the barrage across Sarawak River near here had been opened to drain out the water to sea to alleviate the flooding in the city.
He said if the weather did not improve, the flood situation would worsen on Tuesday as it coincides with the King Tides, when the water level in the river will reach its peak.
Dr Chan advised villagers to promptly move out from their homes when advised by the authorities, and to stop their children from playing in floodwaters as they could be washed away by the strong currents.
The public can seek emergency help from the state flood operations room (082-447924; 447960 or 492703) or Kuching Resident’s Office (082-246911, 422263 or 243301).