SUNGAI PETANI, Dec 25 – Tomorrow marks the 10th anniversary of the Asian tsunami that struck on Dec 26, 2004. The deadly tsunami that devastated several areas in the country, including Kota Kuala Muda, near here, had left an unforgettable memory and remained as a lesson to learn among those involved, especially those who lost their loved ones.
Kampung Kepala Jalan, Kampung Tepi Sungai and Kampung Masjid were among the villages that were badly hit by the tsunami, which claimed 11 lives from the state. “It was God’s will. No one saw it coming,” said a resident of Kampung Tepi Sungai, Yaacob Ismail, 58, when met by Bernama here today.
Yaacob is one of the victim whose house was hit by tsunami and whose paralysed mother-in-law, Siti Aminah, who was in her 60s, was killed during the mishap. Reiterating the whole incident, Yaacob said there were three house owners holding a feast that day and he was rushing home from the first feast when the five wave hit the village.
“My mother-in-law was at home when the second wave hit our house. I managed to take her out to higher ground with the help from my two sons, but the situation was chaotic and she died soon after that. “I was also in pain after being hit by a car which was washed ashore by the seawater. I had been living here for 48 years and never had I thought that something like this would happen,” he said.
Yaacob Abd Rahman, 63, from Kampung Masjid, who is suffering from heart ailment, said he passed out three times during that fateful day. “I just returned from paying my last respect to a deceased villager and attended a feast at another villager’s house before being told to go home by a friend who saw that my face was quite pale.
“When I arrived home, I was shocked when told by my children that a big wave was coming. We ran to safety after that. I passed out three times that day,” he said. Traumarised by the incident, Yaacob said it took him over a month to overcome his fear to return home and that the incident had taught him to be more careful and prepared to face untoward incidents.
Another resident from Kampung Masjid, Abd Halim Abdullah, 61, said after the second wave, many more houses were destroyed and he rushed out to look at the surrounding area. “When I returned home, my wife and children were nowhere to be found as they had moved to a safer place. Luckily we met again and everybody was safe.
“That was a story that happened 10 years ago and it taught us that in case of earthquake, we must stay away from any beach area and go to higher ground within three hours after the quake,” he said. Meanwhile, Norashikin Md Saad, 40, who is also from Kampung Masjid, said she could not believe it when her children, aged four and five, told her that a big wave was coming.
“They were playing at the beach and rushed home to tell me about the wave. I didn’t believe them at first, but when I saw it with my own eyes, I just took them, along with my 11 year-old child, to my brother’s double-storey house, not far from my house. “Twenty other people already flocked the house. Until today, it still haunts me but I’m more prepared now as I have stored all our important documents in a safe and reachable place,” said the woman who hoped that such a deadly mishap would not recur.
Another villager, Napisah Yusoff, 32, said during the tsunami, she had just sat for her Sijil Tinggi Pelajaran Malaysia (STPM) examination. “I was so shocked. This area is not prone to flood, but after the tsunami, I realised that anything can happen at anytime,” she said.