Rescue efforts are underway in parts of Malaysia after seasonal flooding killed at least four people and displaced more than 40,000 people.
Among the deaths confirmed by Johor state authorities on Saturday was a man who became trapped in a car that was swept away by rising waters.
Footage taken by rescue workers and volunteers in towns across the south of the state showed groups of people pinned to rooftops as their homes disappeared under water.
Footage shared by the National Flood Disaster Agency showed rescuers wading chest deep in some areas to rescue people trapped in their homes. A rescue worker was seen carrying a baby in a bucket to safety.
Other images showed flooded roads and forests and vehicles submerged in muddy water.
Malaysia, like many of its neighbors in Southeast Asia, is vulnerable to seasonal flooding. Nearby Singapore has seen heavy torrential rains since February.
Malaysia’s worst flooding in decades occurred in 2021, with 54 dead and the army mobilized. Widespread flooding that year hit eight states and strained emergency services across the country, sparking criticism of the government’s response to the disaster.
The country’s annual monsoon season started in November and people have been evacuating their homes since at least December.
Johor, which has a population of 4 million, is Malaysia’s second most populous state and is the most affected by this season’s floods. Tens of thousands of its residents have now moved to relief centers in schools and community halls, officials said.
Experts from the Malaysian Meteorological Department have warned that the wet weather could continue into April.
Members of the Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (MUDA), a youth-led political party with a strong presence in Johor, advised residents to accept help from relief agencies and warned against “expecting too much a long time” to evacuate their homes.
“The water levels in the river are still high and it is expected to rain again,” said Amira Aisya Abdul Aziz, vice president of the group. “Don’t wait too long if the water levels start to rise. Move to safer areas as soon as possible.
“Remember: your lives are worth more than your possessions,” she added.
Pot Phoon Hua, a 61-year-old worker at a local cookie and coffee factory in the town of Batu Pahat, told CNN the rain continued. He expressed his fears and concerns about several missing friends and relatives and said the aftermath of the flooding would be devastating. “We are helpless,” Pot said.
“Everyone gets involved, but the force of time is too great. We can’t do much. The government can deploy many teams and workers to help, but ultimately Malaysians are at the mercy of nature.