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Shock for family
Published on: Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Tawau: A family of five are still in shock over their Kg Tanjung Batu Keramat Laut house being lifted and carried away 15 feet by a tornado-like gust of wind around midnight on Monday.

Norsaidah Mhd Said, 44 said although traumatised by the incident, she is glad all her family members are safe.

"I saw the whirlwind and it was terrifying. It came from behind the kitchen, spinning white mist and produced a rough noise.

"I am still confused because not even the picture frames fell. Only our house was lifted and it felt like we were going up the elevator for five seconds before landing.

"We did not fall or roll over even when the house was shaking but all five of us stayed in our position in the living room until we landed," Norsaidah said.

Her husband along with their three children aged 18 months to 5 years were in the living room watching television when the incident occurred.

"We didn't know how to save ourselves because when we opened the door there was lightning and zinc as well as wood were flying around. I even saw a big nail being blown during the storm," she said.

She and her family cried for help and villagers helped pull them out from the house.

Norsaidah said they were lucky as it was low tide which gave them the chance to save items such as clothes and electrical appliances.

"I don't know where to go because our things will have to be placed somewhere (neighbour's house).

I do not know where I can sleep tonight because even my neighbours faced the same unfortunate event," she said.

They were hoping to stay at the teacher's quarters temporarily where her husband applies for a Projek Perumahan Rakyat (PPR) as she and her family are unable to rebuild their home.

Norsaidah's house were among several that were destroyed during the phenomena that hit the district from 11pm Monday until 1am (Tuesday). The District Disaster Response Committee is still collecting information.

At least 50 houses were badly damaged after thunderstorms, heavy rain and strong winds struck various areas in the district.

One house in Batu 4 ½ Jalan Apas was crushed by a fallen tree while in Kg Pasir Putih Baru, two out of nine houses had their roofs and ceilings blown more than 60 metres away.

Other houses also had their zinc roofs blown away aside from being affected by flying debris, such as in Kg Pukat Tanjung Batu Laut, Taman Da Hua, Taman Lee Ka and Batu 2 until Batu 5 Jalan Apas.

Also affected were the Tawau Form Six College building and SMK Tawau II as well as business premises such as shop buildings, stalls and workshops along Jalan Dr Yamamoto, Tanjung Batu Keramat, Batu 2 Jalan Apas and Hill Top.

The winds felled 10 trees along Jalan Apas, badly damaging a Proton Saga BLM at Batu 3 Jalan Apas.

A giant billboard reportedly fell in the same area.

Several main roads were also affected due to fallen trees along Jalan Kuhara, Jalan Utara, Jalan Tengku Osman, Jalan Tanjung Batu and Jalan Apas.

In addition, some electrical poles almost fell around Bulatan Batu 4 heading to Kg Kongsi 10 as well as several village areas.

Fortunately, no casualties were reported.

Tawau Fire and Rescue Station chief Sharudy Delamin said the station received reports throughout the night.

Tawau Municipal Council President Alijus Sapil said the council is still in the process of collecting information.

In KEMABONG, the roofs of five houses at three separate villages were blown away while another house roof was crushed by a fallen tree due to strong winds, Monday.

According to neighbours, the incident occurred at around 5pm and lasted half an hour.

The wife of one of the victims, Anna, said she and her husband, Shahrizan, were lucky as they were at a relative's house at the Kalang housing area while their two children are working in Kuala Lumpur.

A group from the State assemblyman's office in Kemabong, led by Mohd Taslim, had visited the affected areas to collect information and present contributions from Kemabong assemblyman Jamawi Jaafar. - Lagatah Toyos and Mail Mathew


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