Be prepared for tsunamis, residents in west coast warned

Above: A member of the Malaysian Civil Defence Department giving aid to a ‘victim’ who ‘drowned’ during a session at a tsunami preparedness training exercise in Batu Ferringhi yesterday.

GEORGE TOWN - People living in the west coast of the peninsula are advised to be prepared for a tsunami in view of a shift in the tectonic plate in Sumatra and Nicobar islands.

Malaysian Meteorological Department director-general Datuk Dr Yap Kok Seng said yesterday the public should brace themselves for the worst in a calm and orderly manner if and when a tsunami strikes.

"With the unstable tectonic plates in Sumatra and Nicobar islands, our level of preparedness should be at its highest so rescue efforts can be carried out smoothly. Those in Penang, Perlis, Kedah and Perak must be extra careful."

He said the public must follow orders given by disaster rescue teams and stay away from the shores when warned of an impending tsunami.

"One of the warnings we use for an impending tsunami is the fixed line alert system. It will automatically call all fixed line telephones within 3km from the sea shores," he said.

The public would also be informed by phone of the assembly points in their respective areas.

Yap said this after presenting certificates to participants at a tsunami preparedness training in Batu Ferringhi here yesterday.

More than 300 people from the security forces, government agencies and students took part in a five-hour mock disaster rescue mission that included learning emergency first aid, evacuation assembly and crowd dispersal management.

Penang is the first state to conduct the training, jointly organised by the department and the state National Security Council.

The council's secretary Zakaria Ibrahim said similar training would soon be held in other states.

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