Storm kills one and inundates downtown Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia's largest city was mopping up Wednesday after a strong unseasonal storm overnight that killed at least one person and inundated homes, offices, schools and a hospital.india Updated: Jun 12, 2003 15:32 IST
Malaysia's largest city was mopping up Wednesday after a strong unseasonal storm overnight that killed at least one person and inundated homes, offices, schools and a hospital.
A 54-year-old man was swept away and drowned in one of dozens of rivers and creeks running through Kuala Lumpur that were swollen by a downpour that dumped 96 millimeters (3.84 inches) of rain on the city in about two hours, officials said.
Low-lying parts of the city, including areas downtown near office blocks and major hotels, were swamped by waters as high as 1 meter (3 feet) as the two main rivers in the city burst their banks, cutting major thoroughfares and causing traffic snarls for hours. Hundreds of cars were damaged as underground and outdoor lots flooded, parts of the city were blacked out briefly and thousands of workers were stranded by the flooding, which began soon after the storm hit just before evening rush hour.
By late Tuesday night, the floodwaters had generally subsided, leaving behind isolated pools and tons of mud in homes, stores and other buildings.
Part of a hospital in an inner-city suburb was submerged, and authorities evacuated seven pregnant women by boat and ambulance to medical centres on higher ground, the national news agency, Bernama, reported.
More than 2,000 people, including 300 teachers and children attending evening classes in three schools, were rescued by emergency services personnel, Bernama reported.
Tropical downpours across Malaysia are common during the monsoon season, and flooding periodically occurs in low-lying areas of the city.
But the storm came during a hot spell in the midyear dry season and dumped more than double the amount of rain than the worse storm over the city last year.
It was "very unexpected and caught everyone by surprise," Kuala Lumpur Mayor Shaid Mohd Taufik said.