PENANG Island City Council (MBPP) and Seberang Perai Municipal Council (MPSP) workers responded quickly to ensure a smooth traffic flow in Penang in the aftermath of the windstorm that hit the northern states last night.
State Local Government, Housing, Town and Country Planning chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said this morning that 90% of the fallen trees and other obstacles that fell onto the primary roads had been cleared by the council workers.
Jagdeep said the worst hit places in Penang island were Bayan Lepas and Batu Ferringhi, and north Seberang Perai on the mainland. Other states affected were Kedah, especially in Langkawi, and Perlis.
In Kedah, a female motorcyclist was killed by a car after she was thrown off onto the road after a ‘flying’ zinc roof struck her in front of a mosque in Jitra.
“The speed of the wind was reportedly 180km per hour. We were very fortunate that we experienced only the tailend of Typhoon Lekima,” Jagdeep told a press conference after visiting the Iconic Vue project in Batu Ferringhi today.
In Penang island, he said there were 129 locations where 180 trees were uprooted and 150 of them had been chopped and removed while in Seberang Perai, there were 123 locations where 152 trees fell and 134 of them were chopped up and removed.
“Ninety percent of the fallen trees have been cleared. Clearing work is ongoing and I hope all this will be completed by today.
“I want to thank the teams from MBPP and MPSP which have sent out 450 workers and 365 workers respectively to clear the uprooted trees and debris,” said Jagdeep, who also thanked the police, Fire and Rescue Department personnel and other agencies.
“I am thankful that there is no report of any fatal case. There are however five victims that were sent to hospital for treatment.
“I am also thankful that there was no flood like the historical flood that happened in Penang in 2017. We pray that no such untoward incident occurs in Penang.”
Also present were MBPP mayor Datuk Yew Tung Seang and MPSP president Datuk Rozali Mohamud.
Yew said a pedestrian bridge in Jalan Masjid Negeri was safe to be used after a tree fell on top of its canopy.
“We’ve inspected the bridge and found the rc (reinforced concrete) structure to be still intact,” said Yew, who also thanked his staff for sacrificing their Hari Raya Haji holidays to help in the cleanup operation.
“Since the tower that fell from Menara Umno (in Macalister Road), we’ve a stringent policy regarding the setting up of signages. I believe that if we have not controlled the situation, there would have been more damage.”
In the incident in 2013, the lightning arrestor pole of the building collapsed during a freak storm, claiming a victim’s life.
Rozali said apart MPSP workers, seven CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) teams sprang into action by helping to cut the fallen trees and clear objects from the roads.
“We give priority to assist victims whose houses were damaged by the fallen trees and who will be celebrating Hari Raya Haji tomorrow,” said Rozali.
Jagdeep advised the victims to lodge police reports and provide evidence of their damaged houses so that financial aid could be given out to them via the TYT Disaster Relief Fund.
Story by K.H. Ong
Pix by Chan Kok Kuan