Disease hits Malaysia flood victims

Rains ease but diarrhoea spreads in relief centres in the country's south.

     Rains have eased but officials say it may be two weeks before some residents can go home [AFP]

    Nonetheless Chua said unsanitary conditions at the centres remained a concern.
     
    The government has said it will send 200 extra doctors and nurses to the region.
     
    The New Straits Times newspaper said there were also seven cases of leptospirosis, a water-borne disease carried in rat urine, since the first floods in December. One of the victims has died.
     
    Heavy rains that began last week triggered more floods after a deluge in December left several people dead and caused damage put at more than $28 m.
     
    Murky, brown floodwaters still engulf towns, roads and villages in the southern state of Johor. Intermittent rain was forecast for the state on Wednesday.
     

    The entire town of Kota Tinggi remains under several metres of floodwater

    Also on Wednesday, Abdullah Badawi, the Malaysian prime minister, was to make his second visit in as many days to Johor, to tour relief centers.
     
    Officials says about 80,000 people remain in temporary accomodation, down from about 100,000 at the weekend.
     
    Che Moin Umar, the civil defence department's crisis division director said the government believed most flood evacuees, aside from those in the Batu Pahat area, will be able to return home by the weekend.
     
    Clogged drains and the low-lying terrain in Batu Pahat will delay their return, and the authorities plan to pump floodwater from the area, state news agency Bernama quoted him as saying.
     
    The entire town of Kota Tinggi remains under several metres of floodwater.
     
    The Star newspaper reported that boatmen were offering tours of flood-deluged areas, with one unidentified "tour guide” quoted as saying that it seemed all right, since the government had declared 2007 "Visit Malaysia Year".

    SOURCE: Agencies


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