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Strong Wind Ripped Off Roofs of 77 Homes

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“I was in the kitchen when I heard sounds like someone was running on my roof. The next thing I knew, my roof was gone...” At 2.20 pm on October 30, 2012, a strong wind struck Ayer Keroh Heights, Melaka, ripping off roofs, toppling power poles and causing a power blackout to some houses.

The following day, 15 teams (79 volunteers) visited the affected families and handed over Master Cheng Yen's consolation letter, together with blankets and instant noodles.

Tzu Chi volunteer, Lee Sing Nam, who lives close to the affected area, reported the incident to Tzu Chi Melaka's Office. Twelve volunteers were dispatched to the disaster area 4 hours after the incident. On arrival, they found that government officers were already there collecting particulars of the victims. The 12-member assessment team split up into smaller groups to visit the affected households to find out their needs.

A shocking moment

Madam Lin Shi Huang informed volunteers that the windstorm came so suddenly and strongly that it shocked her grandson, who was then having his lunch in the kitchen. The latter ran to the living room to look for her and they both held each other, too shocked to run out of the house when the roof was blown off and rain came pouring into their house. Both spent the night at the house of Madam Lin's son.

Madam Lin's neighbour, Mr. Noor Azimizi had just returned from Seremban to find the entire roof of his house ripped off and all his furniture were soiled. Even though he was sad, he accepted it as fate with an open heart. He indicated that he would go to the relief centre and work things out step by step.

Although the freak storm came and went so fast, it caused much damage and loss to the residents in Ayer Keroh Heights. Madam Saraswathi told the volunteers that she was in the kitchen when she heard sounds like someone was running on her roof. The next thing she knew, her roof was gone; and in panic, she ran to her living room.

She said, "I have been staying here for 16 years, and I have never experienced anything like this. I am still very frightened even though the wind has gone." When advised to calm herself with prayers, she replied that she thanked God for protecting her from injury in the incident.

Thank you for your concern

A relief operation was scheduled the following day with volunteers packing relief items (instant noodles and blankets) at their Ayer Keroh Recycling Centre around 11am. The relief distribution was held at 3.30pm that day.

Madam Haliza Hussin greeted the volunteers happily and said, "We are so happy to see you! Thank you for your concern." When given the Master's consolation letter, Haliza said "thank you" again.

At the relief distribution, volunteer Tan Teck Siang, who led the Emergency Relief Mission, divided the 79 volunteers into 15 groups to distribute the gifts to all the 77 affected families. As volunteers handed out blankets (made from recycled PET bottles), they also took the opportunity to inform the victims of the need to recycle. They informed the residents about the location of their community's recycling centre and invited them to join in the effort of protecting Mother Earth.

By Ho Gia Yan & Loo Chia Chia, Melaka
Translated by Hew Kwee Heong