Death toll rises to nine in north Malaysia because of floods

Two brothers drowned while fishing in floodwaters in Kedah state, raising to nine the number of flood-related deaths in northern Malaysia, police said Thursday. The boys, aged 14 and 9, slipped and fell Wednesday into a pond that didn't exist before the heavy rains began in the region last week, said officer Shahidan Ladin from the state police flood operations room.

More than 18,000 people are staying in relief camps in Kedah, Shahidan said, adding that the state airport remains flooded and many roads, including a major highway, are impassable. Another 10,000 evacuees remained at relief centers in the nearby states of Perlis, Kelantan and Perak, although numbers were dropping as people returned home, the New Straits Times reported.

Conditions have returned to normal in northern Terengganu state where all evacuation centers have closed, the newspaper reported.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who visited flood victims in Perlis, said his government will asses the damage to decide on compensation for poor farmers who have lost their livelihoods, according to the report.

Peninsular Malaysia's northern states usually suffer floods during the monsoon season between November and March, but the flooding in Perlis, Kedah, Perak, Kelantan and Terengganu states this year has been deemed the worst in 30 years, reports the AP. I.L.

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