Flooding continues to affect parts of Sabah and Sarawak states of May 22 following severe weather in the area, displacing over 5,000 people. Affected regions include sections of Lawas and Limbang districts in Sarawak, as well as Beaufort, Keningau, Sipitang, and Tenom districts in Sabah. Reports indicate Tenom is the worst-affected area, with over 4,000 people evacuated. There have been no reports of casualties or injuries, though the official casualty count may rise in the coming days. While the state agency Malaysian Meteorological Department does not forecast any heavy rains in the impact areas in the coming days, disruptions will likely continue in the affected areas in the coming days as flooding subsides.
Hazardous ConditionsAdditional flooding is possible in areas with easily overwhelmed or a lack of stormwater drainage systems. Sites located downstream from large reservoirs or rivers may be subject to flash flooding after relatively short periods of intense rainfall. Landslides cannot be discounted in hilly or mountainous areas, especially where the soil has become saturated by heavy rainfall.
Authorities could issue further mandatory evacuation orders for flood-prone communities. Disruptions to electricity and telecommunications services may occur where significant flooding or landslides impact utility networks.
TransportFloodwaters and debris flows may render some bridges, rail networks, or roadways impassable in the affected parts of Sabah, and Sarawak states, impacting overland travel in and around affected areas. Freight and passenger train delays and cancellations are possible. Ponding on road surfaces could cause hazardous driving conditions on regional highways. Officials could temporarily close some low-lying routes impacted by floodwaters. Reports indicate that authorities have suspended operations at Lawas Airport (LWY) in Lawas, Sarawak State, as of May 22, due to runway flooding. Officials may close additional airports, as well as roads and harbors, if the severe weather persists.
Localized business disruptions may occur in low-lying areas; some businesses might not operate at full capacity because of flood damage to facilities, possible evacuations, and some employees' inability to reach work sites.
HealthFlooding may heighten the threat of disease outbreaks. Backflow from drains mixed with floodwaters can become trapped in open areas when inundations recede. These stagnant pools often become a breeding ground for mosquitoes and bacteria, increasing the incidence of insect- and water-borne diseases. Exposure to contaminated water from inundated industrial sites, sewer systems, and septic tanks also poses a significant health threat.
The affected parts of Sarawak State are around 97 km (60 miles) east of Miri, while the affected areas of Sabah State are about 50 km (31 miles) south of Kota Kinabalu.