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Langkawi back to normal after tsunami strikes


LANGKAWI: Langkawi is returning to normal with tourists heading for the beaches while the Government is looking into help for villagers affected by the giant waves that lashed the island on Sunday.

At the Pelangi Beach Resort, situated along Pantai Cenang, one of the areas hit by the waves, guests were spotted taking advantage of the clear blue skies yesterday to soak in some sun on the beach.

Although the two pools at the resort were affected by the tsunami and guests had to be relocated, many were undeterred by the inconvenience.

General manager Francois G. Sigrist said the damage was substantial but the resort was open and had guests, contrary to rumours that it had been closed because of the incident.

He said the resort痴 two swimming pools were affected by the tidal wave which hit Pantai Cenang in Langkawi on Sunday.

"Guests were moved to other hotels, schools and hostels nearby while some slept in the lobby.

"Our rooms were not affected, but for the safety of our guests, we moved them out," he said Tuesday, adding that some guests had moved back by Monday.

He said although damage was substantial, he was glad that none of his guests were injured during the incident.

Sigrist said the hotel was constantly in touch with authorities to check on the latest situation.

"Safety comes first. We have also stationed some of our staff to watch the beach and coastline.

"Our resort is operating at normal levels capacity and we expect everything to be back to what it was by the end of this week," he added.

Langkawi MP Datuk Abu Bakar Taib said the Governャment would extend financial assistance to affected villagers here to enable them to rebuild their homes.

He said a disaster relief fund is also being set up in Langkawi to facilitate both financial and other assistance to be channeled to victims, most of whom were from Kampung Kuala Teriang on the island.

"Officers from the police and Fire and Rescue Services Department will be recording the losses suffered by the villagers," he told reporters at a gotong-royong organised to clean up the mosque at Kampung Kuala Teriang, which was flooded by the waves.

About 100 people, including personnel from various governャment agencies and the army, villagers and volunteers from the City Bayview Hotel took part in the clean-up exercise.

Abu Bakar said boats, outboard engines, fishing nets, vehicles and homes were destroyed by the strong tidal waves

"Fishermen in the meantime have resumed their trips out to sea," he said

He added the sea was now calm but the district office would be monitoring the situaャtion. and checking on whether a second tsunami would hit the island.

Abu Bakar said the authorities planned to move the victims now staying at a school in the area, which was being used as a relief centre, to the Fama complex nearby before the new school year begins next week.

"We will also help schoolャchildren by supplying them with uniforms and books for the coming school term," he said.
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