January floods wreak havoc in Singapore

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Thursday, February 1, 2007

Floods during the month of January have devastated Singapore. A major flood occurred from January 11 to January 12, 2007, during which almost 24 cm of rain fell, resulting in a landslide. A second major flood recently occurred at Kota Tinggi, leaving 17 people and 12 monkeys dead. As of January 31, 30,000 people still reside in relief centers in w:Johor.

Almost 24 cm of rain fell in two days in northern Singapore, disrupting business operations in the area and triggering a landslide in Jalan Anak Bukit. The continuous rainfall, over 18 hours on Thursday, January 11 and Friday January 12, resulted in a landslide which caused the closure of a road that heads toward the Pan Island Expressway.

The MacRitchie Reservoir station recorded 216.7 millimeters of rainfall during the 24 hour period, accounting for 90 percent of the January average of 241 millimeters.

Recent flooding of the Johor river has caused vast destruction in Kota Tinggi. According to a Malaysian official, the flooding may be due to the land reclamation efforts made by Singapore. The reclamation project has reportedly narrowed the mouth of the Johor river, slowing the flow of water into the Johor Straits. About 100,000 people have been evacuated from their homes because of flooding during December and January.

In 2002, Singapore began land reclamation at the Johor Straits in an effort to reclaim Pulau Tekong. Malaysia opposed the project and sought international arbitration proceedings during October of 2003. Malaysia has reported that the project has hurt their interests by narrowing shipping lanes at the Johor Straits. Singapore expects the reclamation to be finished by 2010.

Malaysia has provided about US$430 million of aid by sheltering flood victims and rebuilding roads and schools. Flood water as high as four meters has caused 17 deaths and restricted access to many villages and towns.