2004 Tsunami: Penang recalls the horror, 12 years on

Remembering the tragedy: Norshakirah showing where she used to live in then Kampung Masjid from her home at Pangsapuri Masjid Terapung in Tanjung Bungah, Penang.
PHOTO: The Star/ANN

GEORGE TOWN - Twelve years have passed since the 2004 tsunami but the catastrophe is etched in the memories of those affected.

Take the case of a family whose village house in then Kampung Masjid was hit when the devasta­ting tsunami struck on Dec 26, 2004.

Norshakirah Azmi, the oldest daughter, can remember the day like it was yesterday although she was just nine years old then.

"My grandfather, who was a fisherman, was at the balcony mending his fishing nets when he saw the waves coming.

"I was watching my mother cooking that time. Suddenly, my grandfather shouted, asking us to lari, lari (run, run).

"He said a water tank had broken and he saw waves coming in fast from the sea.

"We ran barefooted up some stairs leading to our kampung, out to the main road.

Remembering the tragedy: Norshakirah showing where she used to live in then Kampung Masjid from her home at Pangsapuri Masjid Terapung in Tanjung Bungah, Penang.Photo: The Star/Asia News Network

"My mother and father carried my two sisters, who were only three and six years old at the time," said Norshakirah, 21.

Norshakirah's father Azmi Din, 51, a general worker with the Penang Island City Council, said he saw the sea water receding upon reaching home for lunch that day.

"Then I saw that it was all black in the sea. The water had receded and there was all the mud.

"At that moment, I did not think about anything else but to get my family to safety," he said.

Azmi said he was overwhelmed and touched by the amount of aid that poured in after the disaster.

"You could see the best in Malaysians during such times. Everybody was just helping out in any way they could.

"No matter which race or religion they belonged to, they helped unconditionally."

Azmi's wife, Alina Mat, 49, who works as a clerk at a law firm, said she was grateful that her family members were unharmed by the tsunami.

Their village was completely destroyed in the Boxing Day disaster which claimed 52 lives in Penang.

Pangsapuri Masjid Terapung, an apartment complex by the sea, was built and completed in October 2007 to house the Tanjung Bungah and Batu Ferringhi victims.

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