Thursday, November 22, 2007


Over Eighty houses in Tawau damaged by typhoon
This east coast town suffered the tail effects of Typhoon Mitag which damaged more than 80 houses and public facilities at several villages here the last two nights. Apart causing damage to the wooden houses and blowing off roofs at Kampung Titingan, Jalan Damai, Pasir Putih and Tanjung Batu, the winds packing speeds of up to 60km per hour, also uprooted trees and poles around 10pm on Wednesday and Thursday. Tawau police chief Assistant Commissioner Jaafar Mohd Yusof yesterday said that they had not received any reports of injuries or deaths connected with the strong winds. “So far there have only been reports of damages to private and public property from various parts of the district,” he said. One of the victims, who requested anonymity, recalled what had happened: “I was sleeping in my bedroom when I heard a big sound like the roof being blown away. I then felt the rainwater dropping on my body.” Another victim, Anna, said she was watching television in the living room of her house when the strong winds struck.
She said she quickly woke up her parents when she saw the roofs of her house were being blown away. “I was very scared and I did not know what to do except calling my parents,” she said. Most of the victims had yet to replace the roofs yesterday as the workers were busy repairing their own houses. Several advertisement billboards, trees, wires and lights were damaged or brought down by the strong winds. Sabah Meteorological Department director Tan Chen Kok, when contacted in Kota Kinabalu, said that the current third category warning remains as they expect weather conditions to remain bad over Sabah due to Typhoon Mitag. Meanwhile, assistance is being provided to families whose houses were damaged and the Welfare Department was registering victims. Tawau welfare officer Asnah Mohd Kassim said the department had opened counters in Kampung Pasir Putih, Titingan, Tanjung Batu Laut, Tanjung Batu Tengah and several other locations. “We will be providing the necessary assistance,” he said. Apas Assemblyman Datuk Tawfiq Abu Bakar Titingan, who was attending the State Assembly sitting in Kota Kinabalu, rushed back here and visited the damaged houses at Kampung Titingan yesterday morning. He also gave emergency aid to the 80 victims there. Tawfiq, who is also the Assistant Rural Development Minister, advised the residents staying near the rivers to remain on alert for any life-threatening incident. Also paying a visit to the victims was Tawau Member of Parliament Shim Paw Fatt.