Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Malaysia flood response denounced anew as nearly quarter million flee

Al-Zaquan Amer Hamzah in Reuters: Malaysia's worst flooding in a decade has forced nearly a quarter of a million people from their homes, officials said on Tuesday, with the government coming under renewed fire for its perceived slow response.

The National Security Council said that "exceptionally high" water levels had cut off rescuers from relief centers as the death toll rose to 21 across the northeast. Fifteen people have been killed in neighboring southern Thailand.

Most criticism was directed at Prime Minister Najib Razak for his absence as the disaster unfolded after being photographed playing golf with President Barack Obama in Hawaii. "No matter how prepared we are, there will always be a bigger and more devastating disaster that tests the capability and resources of the country," the council said in a statement to the online news portal, the Malaysian Insider.

Opposition member Tony Pua denounced the government's reluctance to declare a state of emergency and its "complete lack of urgency" in calling a council meeting....

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