KOTA BHARU, Malaysia: The number of flood evacuees in Terengganu and Kelantan decreased slightly to 3,261 and 944 respectively on Sunday (Jan 1), as flood waters receded and evacuees were allowed to return home.
According to the Social Welfare Department's flood information portal, 43 relief centres remain in operation in Terengganu state, while 23 remain open in Kelantan.
"All the evacuation centres in Kuala Krai, Jeli and Tanah Merah currently showed a declining trend although the evacuation centres have not been closed (even though) the victims decided to return home after the weather turned better this afternoon," said Malaysian Civil Defence Force (APM) Kelantan director Zainuddin Hussin.
He added that flood evacuation centres might be opened in several other districts including Pasir Mas and Tumpat later as the river water began to flow to these areas.
The flooding is a seasonal phenomenon in Malaysia, where east coast states face heavy rainfall at the end of almost every year.
This year, it has resulted in school closures in Terengganu, Kelantan and Johor, where the new school term began on Jan 1.
22 out of 501 primary and secondary schools in Terengganu delayed the start of their new term as the roads leading to the schools were flooded. Other schools had been turned into evacuation centres. The floods also forced 16 primary schools in Kelantan to be closed.
In Johor, four schools on islands like Pulau Aur and Pulau Tinggi could not start their new school term due to rough seas.
The Marine Department had earlier issued a big wave warning and stopped small vessels from taking passengers to the islands since Friday, leaving the teachers stranded on the mainland.
"Rough seas since Friday forced 37 teachers to delay their journeys to the schools, but the schools are expected to commence their sessions on Tuesday, depending on the sea condition," Johor state education director Shaharudin Sharif said.