Students recall horrifying scenes

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 02 Jan 2005

PUTRAJAYA: Student Shahrul Iswar Idris was running for his life last Sunday in Banda Aceh but the sight of an almost buried man holding a baby in his outstretched hands stopped him. 

“He was almost buried but he held the baby up in the air as if trying to get someone to save the infant. 

“Unfortunately, the baby was already dead. I took the infant and placed him on the ground. At that time, there was no time to think about burying the baby because the people were all running for their lives,” he said. 

Shahrul Iswar: Prefers to continue his final year in Malaysia.

Shahrul Iswar was relating his experience to reporters after receiving aid from Umno Overseas Club liaison chairman Datuk Shafie Apdal at Wisma Putra here yesterday. 

He returned home on Friday night together with 17 other students who studied at Banda Aceh’s Institut Agama Islam Negeri which was flattened by the earthquake and tsunami. They were flown in on a Royal Malaysian Air Force C130H aircraft. 

He sought refuge at a mosque and only saw the massive destruction caused by the quake the day after. 

“Bodies, mostly children and the elderly, were all over the place. I have experienced only small quakes in the last two years,” he said.  

He prefers to continue with his final year studies in Malaysia and hoped to discuss the matter with Higher Education Ministry soon. 

Nur Afida Razak, from Sik, Kedah, said she managed to grab her passport and run to the mosque for safety. 

For her, scenes of children in after losing their parents and some of the survivors walking around with body parts remain etched in her mind. 

“Maybe the parts belonged to their family members. I could only help by trying to provide comfort to some of the victims,” she added. 

Shafie said each student received RM1,000 and they would be staying at a hostel in Wisma Putra before returning home. 

Another student Ismail Khalid, 30, is still missing in Aceh while another, Zulhazmi Khalid, has stayed behind in Banda Aceh with his Acehnese wife, only known as Mazrina. 

Mahadir Zamri, 28, the Malaysian House student leader in Banda Aceh, said the scene was one of utter chaos. 

“Everything shook for about 15 minutes. Then I saw this big wave coming, so I just ran. I was swept away but managed to hang on to a pole. 

“After 30 minutes, the water rose again and I climbed to the top of the pole,” he added. 

Mahadir said he knows that Ismail was alive but was not sure where.  


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