More downpours were forecast yesterday for Malaysia and the Indonesian island of Sumatra, where rain-triggered floods and landslides have killed at least 158 people and displaced at least half a million in the past week.
Another 163 people remain missing and are feared dead after torrential waters swept away thousands of homes in the Southeast Asian nations, mostly in Indonesia, officials said.
Hardest hit is northern Sumatra, where roads and bridges were washed away, complicating relief efforts.
Urgently needed food and medical supplies had not yet reached about 7,000 people by yesterday, a week after the heaviest storms hit, said Aspindo Abusamah, acting mayor of Gayo Lues district. Rations were being carried more than 30 kilometers on foot after airlifts were canceled due to the poor weather.
Another 4,200 people in other parts of Aceh face acute food shortages, said Ishak, a local official in Bener Meriah who like many Indonesians uses a single name.
Accurate figures have been difficult to compile, but officials said yesterday that 76 people had died in Aceh province and 70 in North Sumatra province.
Helicopters have dropped food, tents and medicine to survivors in some of the more remote villages, while volunteers in dinghies helped distribute aid.
"We're seeing people with skin disease, fever and colds," said Jabad, an official in the area. "They badly need medicine and clean drinking water."
In neighboring Malaysia, which is experiencing its most severe weather in a century, the death toll rose to 12 after authorities in Johor state recovered the body of a 5-year-old girl who had gone missing two days earlier when floodwaters swept away the car she was in, the national news agency Bernama reported.
A spokesman for the state's floods operations center said a search was underway for a 18-year-old youth who was swept away by swift currents Friday night.