Wednesday, November 28, 2007



Coastal folks recall the moment they will never forget as homes were destroyed
Powerful waves that pounded and caused the collapse of the house where Norsalmah Kairan and her family shared, had given her an experience she would never forget. “I felt my house swayed three times. We quickly evacuated the house, took whatever we could grab out as we witnessed its collapse,” said the 52-year-old as she recalled the moment yesterday. The powerful waves struck Kampung Tanjung Aru Baru on Monday night and destroyed Norsalmah’s house where her two children, their other halfs and eight grandchildren lived. Other areas, namely Kanipung Numbak in Menggatal, Gaya Island, Likas Bay, as well as Meruntum, Kampung Contoh and Teluk Villa in Petagas were also affected by the big waves. Norsalmah said her family had packed their belongings earlier after noticing the rising waters. She and family are putting up at the Tan jung Aru multipurpose hail temporarily. Her neighbour, Osman Tawang, 35, said water started rising at 9pm and got worse around 11 pm. The tide, however, subsided at 2am. “My house is no longer fit for living. I will have to tear it all down and build a new one,” he said. Osman said they had expected the waters to rise, but not to that extent. “We have had such experience before, but this was by far the worst. I am just glad that my wife and five children are safe,” he said. Just like Norsalmah, Osman had also packed their belongings and had moved to a higher ground much earlier. For now, they will be putting up at their relatives’ house, like many other affected families.
Tanjung Aru Assemblyman, Edward Yong Oui Fah, who visited the affected areas yesterday said he had instructed the village development and security committees to hand in reports on the incident, including the damage suffered. “I will then submit them to the Government to determine the kind of help we could offer to the affected people,” said the Assistant Local Government and Housing Minister when met at the scene. At least 500 people were affected by the king tide, which also saw the collapse of six houses, with 36 others partially damaged in Kampung Tanjung Aru Baru and Meruntum. “There were no casualties reported. At the peak of the high tide last night (Monday), the water was about 2.4 metres high,” he said. City Police Chief ACP Ahmad Sofi Zakaria said the situation was expected to go on for another couple of days.
Fire Dept receives distress call
“Therefore, we would like to advise those living by the seaside to be cautious at all times. We also hope they would cooperate with us when we tell them to evacuate their homes immediately,” he said. Ahmad Sofi said the situation was not alarming and was under control. Fire and Rescue Services Department received a distress call on the situation at around 9pm on Monday. Firemen were quickly rushed to the scene to rescue those who were trapped in their houses after the strong waves broke the stilt bridges.