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JERANTUT: Taman Negara, one of the world's oldest tropical rainforests, remains safe for travelers as the recent flash flood was an extremely rare phenomenon. Pahang Tourism and Culture Ministry director Datuk Idrus Yahya said the national park here was safe to visit so visitors should not be afraid to plan their trip to Taman Negara. "The flash floods on Monday only hit the drop-off zone near the Taman Negara jetty where six vehicles were parked and it was triggered by unusual rainfall upstream. There is already a designated parking area for visitors who wish to stay overnight. "The Village Security and Development Committee provides a brightly lit parking area along with security guards not far from the jetty and most people would choose to leave their vehicles there. The parking lot is located on a higher ground and visitors do not have to worry if it rains," he said when contacted.

In the 5.30 am incident on Monday, six vehicles, including five belonging to expatriates on holiday at Taman Negara, were submerged after Sungai Tahan burst its banks, causing flash floods. No injuries were reported in the incident. Since images of the incident including the submerged vehicles went viral, some netizens posted on social media that Taman Negara Kuala Tahan was no longer safe and visitors who were planning a trip there were advised to cancel their plans. However, tour and resort operators at the national park have rubbished the posting saying the floods had only submerged certain section of the drop-zone and the cars damaged were those parked near the river.

Meanwhile, Idrus said visitors to the national park especially those planning to stay at Mutiara Taman Negara Resort will be often reminded not to park their vehicles near the jetty especially at night. "If they insist, then they will have to provide details of their room number as the resort management would immediately alert them to remove the vehicle in case it rains... this can be at any time including early hours of the morning. "On Monday, the water rose rapidly and the occupants did not have enough time to remove their vehicles. It's best that those visiting Taman Negara to park their vehicles at the designated parking area to avoid any unforeseen incidents," he said, describing the flash flood here as a rare incident. Meanwhile, a resort owner, who declined to be named, said people should not spread fake news about the floods or circulate the pictures at the national park without knowing the real situation.

"The floods receded less than three hours after the incident and the situation here has returned to normal. The national park only reopened on June 15 after almost three months of being closed due to Covid-19 and currently, there are a lot of special tour packages for visitors," he said. Source - NST

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