Storm leaves trail of destruction

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 11 Aug 2019

GEORGE TOWN: The tail-end of Typhoon Lekima left a trail of destruction in many areas in the state with damaged cars, blown-off roofs, and uprooted and fallen trees.

Two motorcyclists were knocked down by fallen trees while at least five people were injured by “flying objects” during the storm, which lasted about two hours on Friday night.

They were sent to Penang Hospital and Seberang Jaya Hospital for treatment, said Penang welfare and caring society committee chairman Phee Boon Poh.

A 12-year-old girl in Jalan Bagan Jermal also suffered electric shock after coming into contact with a live power cable. She has been warded at Penang Hospital. Her condition is said to be stable.

Traffic came to a near standstill in major roads as motorists avoided running over fallen branches and twigs as a result of the strong wind that reportedly exceeded 100kph.

Penang local government committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said 180 trees in 129 locations on the island and 152 trees in 123 locations on the mainland were uprooted during the storm.

Workers from Penang Island City Council (MBPP) and Seberang Prai Municipal Council (MPSP) were mobilised to clear up the affected areas, he said.

“Their quick action and efficiency have resulted in 90% of the mess being cleared up by morning, ” he said in Batu Ferringhi yesterday.

MBPP mayor Datuk Yew Tung Seang, who was also present, said the pedestrian bridge in Jalan Masjid Negeri was safe as no structural damage was detected.

“We have inspected the structure and removed the tree which fell on it. The zinc shelter covering the bridge has also been removed. The bridge is intact, ” he said.

Video of the bridge with its broken roofing went viral after the storm.

It alarmed those who viewed it.

The roof of a terminal in Penang International Airport was also ripped off by strong winds while one of the terminal’s automatic glass doors was shattered.

Island Glades resident K.Y. Tan, 32, said her neighbour’s zinc porch roofing, the size of half a badminton court, flew in the wind and landed in front of her house.

She said the huge structure from the house behind hers “uprooted” and flew for a few metres mid-air before crashing at her entrance.

“I can’t imagine how strong the wind was. The impact could have crushed someone to death but luckily, nobody was hurt, ” she said.

Tan said she heard a loud howling of the wind soon after it started raining in the neighbourhood.

“There were noises outside and we decided to stay in the house.

“When we came out later, we found debris and fallen branches scattered on the road.”

At a mixed development project in Bayan Baru, part of a concrete slab was blown off from a four-storey building, hitting two cars parked by the roadside.

Car owner Kan Kah Waai, 27, said the back portion of her car was badly damaged.

“I have reported this to the building management and filed a police report, ” said the accountant, who lived at the residential block of the project.

Another car owner Mohamad Aliff Mohamad Faazillah, 24, said he was on a working trip in Kelantan when the incident happened.

“Looking at the severe damage to my car, it appears like a total loss to me. I’ll file a complaint with the building management and see what they have to say.

“I still cannot accept how this could have happened, ” he said.

The strong wind also ripped off a big portion of roof at the Penang Matriculation College in Pongsu Seribu, causing its zinc panels and steel beams to detach from the building and crash into the foyer area. Fortunately, nobody was injured.

In an Education Ministry statement, it said 329 schools and educational institutes in Perlis, Kedah, Penang, Perak, Selangor, Pahang and Terengganu were damaged by the storm costing RM20mil.

The most number of schools and institutes damaged were in Kedah with 115, Penang (101) and Perlis (58).

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