'Surprise' urban Malaysia floods drive pleas for climate action

(Reuters, 2 May 2022) Widespread flooding across Malaysia starting late last year shocked urban residents, with green groups urging a new approach as climate change impacts become more severe.

The damaged furniture and mud-caked walls left by floodwaters have now been replaced or cleaned in Elizabeth Chong's family home, but lost forever are old photos and documents that gave a precious glimpse into her ancestors' lives.

On the street in Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur where Chong's family have lived for almost a century residents have coped with regular flooding for decades - but nothing prepared them for the devastation caused by rising waters late last year.

Chong, who lives in a two-storey house with her disabled aunt and retired mother, was among more than 120,000 people displaced by heavy rains and severe flooding in mid-December and early January across Malaysia.

"We knew that it was raining constantly and we expected a flood - but not to that extent," the 22-year-old told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

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Reuters, 2 May 2022: 'Surprise' urban Malaysia floods drive pleas for climate action