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Nearly 6,000 evacuated in Penang floods

GEORGETOWN: Tens of thousands of students in Penang waded through flood waters to take the SPM (Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia) examination yesterday as the worst floods to hit the state showed no signs of abating.

There are around 23,000 students taking the Bahasa Melayu Kertas paper in Penang. More than 34,000 are taking the exam in Kedah, another state hit by floods.

Deputy Education Minister P. Kamalanathan said the ministry was closely monitoring the situation.

The number of flood evacuees at 62 relief centres in Penang increased from 3,779 on Sunday night to 5,845 yesterday morning.

Flood waters remained nearly 1m high in many parts of Penang mainland.

With heavy rainfall and thunderstorms forecast in the next seven days, residents in Penang are bracing themselves for more wet weather this week.

"This phenomenon is called the Borneo vortex, and it brings heavy rain and winds," said Dr Fredolin Tangang, professor of climatology and physical oceanography at the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

The floods caused Penang's Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to enlist Malaysia's police and military to help with relief efforts. Seven people were killed.

Some experts however believe that the worst might be over for Penang because an 18-hour deluge, which ended on Sunday morning, was the result of a low pressure system that had passed the state.

Penang Fruits Association chairman Wong Jee Min, 47, said strong winds and rain toppled at least 500 durian trees at various orchards.

"Luckily, there is not much yield from the orchards now as the durian season in Penang is between May and August," he said.- THE STAR

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