Tsunami Disaster: First account report from Malaysia

by Tan So Hoon, The Buddhist Channel, Dec 27, 2004

Kuala Muda, Malaysia -- This is the situation report from Kuala Muda, about 25km from Sungai Petani, Kedah. Yesterday was one of surreal high drama. In Sg.Petani, streams of ambulances were carrying the injured to the hospital in town. About 11 are confirmed dead up till last night near Sg.Petani.

Some are still missing at sea.

The tide is unusally high yesterday afternoon, making the already high tide of the full-moon worse. Many houses along the river banks here were temporarily flooded.

Today, the scene at the beach is much calmer, with politicians visiting the victims. Officials on site instructed villagers along the beach to move inland.

Officials warn that more tidal waves may hit Penang & Kedah. In Kuala Muda, around 1,000 people are affected by the move.

Access to the site is difficult, with many government vehicles going to and fro. To get to the worst affected site, we can access Kota Kuala Muda and Pantai Merdeka from south of Sg.Petani, branching from the main road at Tikam Batu (11km south of Sg.Petani). To go to Tg.Dawai, branch off from Bedong (12km north of Sg.Petani).

People there need some clean clothes, towels, and probably cash. Some people lost everything together with their homes. This is probably the worst disaster in Kedah since the floods of 1988.

We held a Puja last night for peace and safety for all. Some friends are also helping out at the sites, doing whatever is necessary, including counselling, helping to move belongings, and cleaning up. Although there is an air of shock and sadness surrounding here (as many lost their lives, friends and belongings), there is also some touching scenes of deep humanity, as everyone is trying his or her best to console and assist each other.

Please pray for the safety of all the people here - the victims' families, villagers, volunteers and officers. Also pray for peace and safety of all the victims and their families throughout Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Indonesia and everywhere.