Kuala Lumpur (Agenzia Fides) - "We are shocked by the catastrophic event of the floods that have hit many communities in eight states of the Federation. Many Christian communities that were celebrating the Advent season and preparing for the Christmas holidays with family gatherings, for a time of prayer and sharing, have been affected. We express our deep and heartfelt solidarity and spiritual closeness to the families of the victims and the displaced. In the coming days, the network of Christian Churches in the different states will launch initiatives of charity, consolation and solidarity. We will give the utmost support. The Lord also comes in times of suffering and anguish bringing his spirit of love and consolation". These are the words to Agenzia Fides by Rev. Jonathan Jesudas, Methodist Christian pastor and General Secretary of the "Malaysian Council of Churches", an ecumenical body, after the floods that first hit the Malaysian state of Kelantan and then other areas, touching a total of eight states of the Federation, both in Peninsular Malaysia and Malaysian Borneo.
According to official information released by the authorities, at least five people have died from the fury of the waters (among them a 15-month-old boy and a two-year-old girl) and more than 70,000 have been displaced after the floods and landslides, caused by the monsoon floods, which reached three meters in height. More than 31,000 people have fled their homes in Kelantan state, while more than 39,000 residents have been evacuated to temporary shelters in neighboring Terengganu state. Thousands more displaced are registered in the states of Pahang, Johor and Perak and now also in Selangor, Sarawak and Sabah. The Malaysian Meteorological Department forecasts continued rainfall in the coming days.
Christian communities, of all denominations, are mobilizing to provide help and hospitality. Pastor Jesudas says: "Let us pray for the victims, so that God may keep together the families who are experiencing the trauma of losing loved ones and the terrifying experience of being swept away by water or landslides, and who today are living a Christmas as displaced persons. We pray that in the days ahead they may experience mercy and compassion through so many arms reaching out to them. Let us pray that God's grace be with the rescuers, the volunteers, the police, the paramedics and all those who can alleviate their suffering."
Floods are an annual phenomenon in the country due to the northeast monsoon, which brings heavy rains from November to March. The newly elected Malaysian Prime Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, visited the affected areas and a school used as an evacuation center in Kelantan. The government has allocated 400 million Malaysian ringgit ($90 million) to the National Disaster Management Agency to deal with the emergency. (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 23/12/2022)
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