2 drown, 16,000 flee homes as seasonal flooding hits 3 eastern Malaysian states

Flooding sparked by heavy seasonal rains has killed two people and forced nearly 16,000 to flee their homes on Malaysia's east coast.

Authorities have evacuated residents of numerous villages and towns to higher ground in three Malaysian states that are prone to torrential rains between November and February.

Flood monitoring centers said 15,993 people were living in schools, community halls and other relief centers Thursday.

Two casualties have been reported since waters submerged low-lying neighborhoods early this week. Malaysian media identified them as a woman who drowned while fishing near a flood-swollen river and a 15-year-old boy swept away by strong currents after he slipped from a boat.

Officials have forecast more rain this week in the three eastern states but said conditions could ease by early January.