KOTA TINGGI, Johor: It was still dark on Saturday (Dec 14) morning when residents of Kampung Mawai woke up to rising flood water in their homes.
Many were evacuated by emergency service agencies in the back of lorries, recalled the village head who introduced himself as Tok Zaini.
Some chose to stay on, but were eventually forced to leave as waters continued to rise. They were evacuated on boats, he said.
"Some managed to grab a few personal belongings before they left," Mr Zaini told CNA on Tuesday. "Most had to abandon everything."
Parts of Johor have been hit by floods over the last week, with about 7,900 evacuees still in relief centres across the state.
As of Monday, flood waters were about 3m deep, the village head said. A video he took showed houses and cars submerged in flood waters.
Another resident told CNA he was concerned about finding snakes in his home when the flood waters eventually subside.
Among those evacuated were more than 200 residents from Kampung Mawai, who were placed at a school about 3km away from their village.
Each classroom housed about six or seven families. For privacy, each family was assigned to a tent supplied by the Johor Social Welfare Department.
Despite the setback, the villagers are keeping their spirits up, said Mr Zaini.
He added that volunteers and emergency relief agencies were providing families with everything from food to clothes.
They were also given diapers, prayer mats and other supplies.
While flood waters have receded slightly, Mr Zaini said there was no word yet on when residents might be able to return home.
The floods, caused by the north-east monsoon, have displaced thousands of residents in Johor since last weekend.
Kampung Mawai is part of the Kota Tinggi district, where about 1,800 people were still staying in flood relief centres as of Tuesday.
Several roads in the area, such as Jalan Jemaluang and Jalan Lok Heng, remained closed to traffic because of knee-deep water along some stretches.
The worst hit region in Johor is Kluang, where 2,624 evacuees were placed in relief centres.
ANOTHER WAVE OF FLOODS MAY OCCUR
The flood situation has improved slightly. About 15 relief centres across Johor have closed, with residents allowed to return to their homes.
Emergency service officers were seen packing up at one of the relief centres at Kolej Vokasional Kota Tinggi, which housed 700 flood victims on Monday.
Volunteers said residents had been allowed to leave earlier.
However, the worst may not yet be over for the southern Malaysian state.
Johor Chief Minister Sahruddin Jamal told reporters on Monday that another wave of floods may hit the state before the end of the year, Bernama reported.
He advised residents to be careful and watch out for directives from local authorities in case of further floods.