Kuala Lumpur - A northern Malaysian state was paralyzed Sunday by a severe storm that led to three deaths and the evacuation of some 2,000 people in the worst flooding in years.
Penang, a popular tourist destination and manufacturing hub, has been hit by torrential rains and strong winds since Saturday, said Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng. He said the rains were probably associated with Typhoon Damrey, which also pounded Vietnam where at least 27 people have died and 22 are missing.
Floodwaters as high as 10 to 12 feet (3 to 3.6 meters) submerged houses in low-lying parts of the state. Extensive flooding also hit the capital George Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site famous for its British colonial buildings.
Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, who are on a weeklong visit to Malaysia, are due to visit George Town on Tuesday.
The dead included a 75-year-old man who drowned in his house, an elderly woman at a nursing home and a Bangladeshi worker, Lim said.
Prime Minister Najib Razak pledged to assist the opposition-ruled state. Army personnel were deployed to evacuate those affected to higher grounds and in cleaning up operations. A total of 27 evacuation centers have been set up.
Lim said there was no need to declare an emergency as the situation is under control. The state government showed reporters security videos of strong wind blowing off large billboards and uprooting trees and floods in the city center.
Rain and floodwaters eased midday Sunday but the meteorological department forecast that the bad weather will continue, with expected continuous rainfall and strong winds.