Heavy Rainfall Causes ‘Mini-Tsunami’ In Kedah, Leaving 3 People Dead And Others Missing

Kedah Menteri Besar Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor denied allegations that the floods were caused by logging on Gunung Jerai.

Cover image via @RiseofKentucky (Twitter) & @zahrzikri (Twitter)

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Heavy rainfall caused an upstream water rush at Gunung Jerai in Kedah, leading to torrential flooding onto the surrounding areas yesterday, 18 August

The sudden gush of water is believed to be caused by consistent rains in the few days prior, which meant an overflow in the water catchment area near the top of Gunung Jerai in Yan district, Kedah.

The incident affected many critical infrastructure such as roads and water supply, as well as damaging residential homes.

According to Bernama, the areas which were inundated included the surrounding locations of Perigi, Teroi Bukit, Singkir, Kampung Permatang Keramat, Kampung Lubuk Boi, Pekan Yan Besar, Titi Teras, Kampung Acheh, and Kampung Setoi.

In fact, due to the seismic nature of the floods, even the adjacent districts of Merbok and Sungai Petani were affected, as per a Malay Mail report.

According to the same report, the Kedah Civil Defence Force stated that the water levels rose up to 1.5 metres at the foothill, forcing the evacuation of many residents.

"Two relief centres have been opened at Surau Taman Gurun Jaya and 127 Kampung Sungai Badak 3, with 27 victims from seven families placed at both centres," they said in an early statement.

Many Kedahans were left reeling in the aftermath, with at least 3 victims confirmed dead

Heavy flooding was seen sweeping into kampung homes, uprooting much of the surrounding greenery.

Image via @FareezAzman (Twitter)

Kedah Menteri Besar Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor, speaking to Bernama, revealed that the deceased were all identified after a search and rescue operation was conducted.

"All three found dead were males, with one of them identified as having died in the landslide while on the way up to Gunung Jerai," said Sanusi.

He also added that a further three victims were believed to be missing in nearby Titi Hayun.

Meanwhile, residents shared how floods of this scale are completely unprecedented. One such resident, Salwa Md Isa, even described the events as a "mini-tsunami".

"I grew up in this village and this is the first time I've seen such an incident... (never) to such an extent until the bridges and roads collapsed, cars washed away, and people dying... I am very scared," she said to Bernama.

19 employees of the Jerai Hill Resort were also left stranded atop Gunung Jerai, as roads leading up the mountain were completely unpassable by the wreckage.

One of the employees, Hisyam, 32, shared to Bernama that they spent the night with the power supply cut off, relying only on back-up power from a generator to keep the lights on.

The roads leading up Gunung Jerai.

Image via @zahrzikri (Twitter)

The Menteri Besar denies allegations that the floods were caused by logging on Gunung Jerai

Kedah MB Muhammad Sanusi.

Image via Bernama/Malay Mail

Sanusi instead laid the blame on surges from the waterfall areas at the foot of the mountain, per Astro Awani.

The allegations of logging activites went viral on social media, and were refuted by Sanusi as impossible as "the area has been gazetted as a forest reserve".

"The floods were caused by continuous heavy rains in the area, and water swiftly flowed down the foot of the mountain, involving Sungai Kunyit, Sungai Teroi, and Sungai Puteri Mandi."

He added that a crisis response operations room has been established, and affected residents are encouraged to reach them via phone at 04-702 8799.

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