Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Twister hits Malacca

It could have been a scene from the movie Twister.

Tiles and tables flew, roofs were ripped off and trees and street lamps uprooted when a massive thunderstorm hit parts of Malacca just before midnight on Sunday.

Hotel manager James Pang, 45, was among those who witnessed the storm's wrath. He said he was awakened by a very loud noise outside his Taman Aman house.

Massive damage: Overee pointing to his house which is now without a ceiling after the storm in Malacca.
“I looked out and saw the tiles from my porch being carried away by the wind. Then I saw a plastic table from one of the Portuguese restaurants 600m away fly into my compound,” he said.

Pang's four-wheel-drive vehicle, which was parked in his porch, was severely damaged by falling tiles. He estimated the total damage to his property at RM15,000.

Witnesses said it only took five minutes of the thunderstorm to tear off the roofs of more than 100 houses in Taman Aman, the Portuguese Settlement, Padang Temu, Bandar Hilir Garden and Seaview Garden.

This is the first time such an incident had happened in these areas.

At the Portuguese Settlement, huge trees were uprooted and the decorative street lamps atthe famous dining at the Portuguese Square were torn off and scattered everywhere.

Scattered mess: The decorative street lamps that usually lend a romantic ambience to the famous al fresco dining at the Portuguese Square lying on the street.
Resident Anthony Overee, 49, said he was watching television with his wife when suddenly their entire ceiling gave way.

“Thank God we were not injured. My two daughters were sleeping in their rooms so I immediately woke them up and we went to the back of the house for shelter,” he said.

SMK Canossa Convent in the settlement, which is already in need of repair, was also badly hit.

Principal Chin Siok Hoon said three out of the four school blocks were badly hit and the damage could easily come up to RM50,000.

Kota Melaka MP Wong Nai Chee, who visited the area yesterday, said that of the 100 houses, about 10 were severely damaged, especially those located near the sea.

He said residents have been urged to file police reports and state their losses so they could get aid from the state government.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam, who visited the area, said the state government, through the Welfare Department, would immediately hand out RM200 to each family as an emergency aid.

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