Malaysia floods force tens of thousands to evacuate

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Malaysian towns were left inundated with muddy water in the wake of torrential rains, footage shared on social media and verified by Reuters showed on Wednesday, forcing more than 72,000 people to evacuate as rainfall and floods were forecast to persist.

At least two people have died as floods hit five states this week, and authorities have set up hundreds of relief shelters as the number of people displaced grows.

Videos on social media showed brown water gushing into fields and streets, submerging cars and causing rivers to breach their banks. Emergency responders were seen wading in waist-deep water to rescue victims.

The Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID) has warned of more floods in the comings days as the monsoon season, which lasts from October to March, carries on. Authorities urged residents to evacuate if possible.

Experts have said rapid urbanisation and conversion of forests into settlements and industrial agriculture have made even inland areas, including capital city Kuala Lumpur, increasingly vulnerable to extreme floods as rainstorms intensify due to climate change.

Reporting by Mei Mei Chu; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor

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