KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 27 (Reuters) - The number of people evacuated due to Malaysia's worst-ever floods jumped to more than 160,000 on Saturday, as Prime Minister Najib Razak reached the worst-hit state after cutting short a vacation in the U.S.
Najib arrived in Kelantan, which has the biggest problems among eight affected states, following his return from Hawaii on Friday after public criticism he had been absent as flooding worsened.
On Saturday, Najib announced an additional 500 million ringgit ($143.31 million) will be spent to aid victims after the flood subsides, following an initial government allocation of 50 million ringgit two days ago.
A family ride on a boat through floodwater in Pengkalan Chepa, near Kota Bharu on Dec. 26, 2014. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)
The number of people evacuated topped 160,000 at 0700GMT Saturday, according to the New Straits Times newspaper, a sharp increase from 100,000 a day before.
The prime minister attended briefings with the National Security Council, the National Disaster Management and Relief Committee, state government and local emergency responders, a statement on Friday said.
This aerial view shows houses submerged in floodwaters in Pengkalan Chepa, near Kota Bharu on Dec. 27, 2014. (MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Northeastern peninsular Malaysia, which is worst affected part of the country, is regularly hit by flooding during the annual "northeast monsoon," but this year's rains have been particularly heavy.
Local residents use trucks to cross flooded streets in Pengkalan Chepa, near Kota Bharu on Dec. 27, 2014. (MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A man makes his way to his house submerged in floodwaters in Pengkalan Chepa, near Kota Bharu on Dec. 27, 2014. (MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
($1 = 3.4890 ringgit) (Reporting by Al-Zaquan Amer Hamzah; Editing by Richard Borsuk)