Firemen carrying the body of Judus Jalina, who was drowned during the floods in Kuching. Pix courtesy of Fire and Rescue dept.

KUCHING: Rescuers have found the body of the first victim of the floods, which ravaged the southern parts of the state for the second time this year, today.

The body of Judus Julina, who went missing since Saturday, was found about 150m from the spot where he was last seen at Kampung Maan in Padawan near here at 5.50pm.

State Fire and Rescue Department assistant director (operation) said the body of the 20-year-old victim was found inside a bush near a farm in the village.

Farhan said rescuers recovered Junus’ body about seven hours after they found his backpack that was with him when the victim accidentally felled into the river while ploughing through floods.

“The water which had receded to another 0.5m had helped the rescuers to locate the body of the victim.

“The case has been handed over the police and the body of the victim was sent to the Sarawak General Hospital for post-mortem,” said Farhan.

Despite the clear weather, the flood situation in the state remained worse with 18 primary and secondary schools in the Padawan, Samarahan, Serian and Simunjan districts were forced to temporary close as of 7pm today.

State Education Department director Rakayah Madon said the schools were closed to ensure the safety of the students and teachers as it was badly submerged by the floods.

“Our people at the district education offices are closely keeping tabs on the situation of the ground. We will make decision from time to time on the operation of the schools depending on the flood situation within the affected areas,” she said when contacted.

Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid after his walkabout to several schools here yesterday said schools damaged by floods would be repaired immediately to allow students to continue their schooling terms as usual.

The damages incurred by the floods to schools, said Mahdzir, would be assessed after the situation has returned to normal.

Meanwhile, the number of flood evacuees continued to increase from 5,362 people on Sunday to 7,926 people as of 6pm.

State Civil Defence Department public relations officer Siti Huzaimah Ibrahim said a total of 50 flood evacuation centres have been opened to house the flood evacuees.