Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Why didn't this quake cause a killer tsunami?

By Michael Coren
CNN.com
Monday, March 28, 2005 Posted: 9:03 PM EST (0203 GMT)

(CNN) -- Why do some earthquakes spawn tsunamis that kill thousands while others hardly stir a ripple on the ocean surface?

"That's one of the mysteries of seismic science," said Caroline Bell, spokeswoman for the U.S. Geological Survey. "We are hoping that with an increase in the seismic [monitoring] system ... in the Atlantic, Caribbean and around the world, [we] will be able to determine why some offshore earthquakes cause tsunamis and some don't."

Monday night's quake in the Indian Ocean was centered 60 miles north on the same fault line of the earthquake on December 26, 2004, that launched tsunamis that left more than 300,000 people dead or missing.

"This looks like a fraternal twin of the December 26 earthquake," said Kerry Sieh, a professor of geology at the California Institute of Technology. "It's not a duplicate. It occurred a little bit further south, a couple kilometers further south. But it's the same type of earthquake."

The December quake was registered 9.0, the biggest in 40 years. The magnitude of the quake Monday night was recorded between 8.5 and 8.7, according to various monitoring agencies, but caused only a slight wave.

The USGS reported that a tide gauge near the Cocos Islands in the eastern Indian Ocean recorded a "small" tsunami, but its size was unclear. The agency said no major tsunami was observed near the epicenter of the earthquake.

Robert Cessaro of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said Monday's quake could have sent its energy farther to the south than last year's quake.

"All that pressure to the north would have been relieved" by that quake, Cessaro said. "We think this event probably ruptured to the south, with the beam of energy probably propagated to the south toward Mauritius and ... Rodrigues [islands]."

Tsunamis occur due to a number of factors from undersea landslides to massive displacement of the Earth's crust. Volcanoes also may launch the killer waves that can tower 32 feet high (10 meters) and sweep miles inland.

After examining the fault line of an earthquake, geologists can usually determine what occurred.

But "it does not help us predict if an earthquake will produce a tsunami," Bell said.

The USGS, working with a number of agencies of other governments, hopes a global network of seismometers, buoys and relay devices will allow tsunami predictions in time to save lives.

One of the leading theories is that the wavelength of earthquake readings -- the frequency at which the ground shakes -- may indicate a coming tsunami, but that is still far from certain.

Finding a seismic smoking gun for tsunamis will finally allow researchers to predict the killer waves.

"That's one of the goals of the USGS, to keep these events from becoming the disaster they are [today]," Bell said.

The warning came swiftly Monday after the earthquake rumbled off the coast of northern Sumatra, sparking panic among people living along the Indian Ocean.

Within hours, tens of thousands of people who survived a killer tsunami just three months earlier heeded evacuation orders to abandon their homes for higher ground. The temblor shook the ground from Indonesia to Thailand.

Although the size of the earthquake can play a large part in gauging its damage, it is not always an accurate indicator of its potential to produce a tsunami.

Jan Egeland, the U.N. disaster relief coordinator, said tsunamis usually occur when an earthquake reaches a magnitude of 8.5.

Yet earthquake fault lines, the point at which plates of the Earth's crust rub together, can stretch for hundreds of miles and quakes may erupt in different ways anywhere along that fault. That makes precise predictions hard.

"It's so common for people to interpret the epicenter as a point from which everything radiates," said Brian Atwater, a USGS geologist at the University of Washington.

"[In the December earthquake], the energy was radiating from fault rupture that was 1,300 kilometers long. ... The fault just unzipped," Atwater said.

"It took seven minutes from start to finish, and all along the way it's radiating energy and displacing sea floor and generating a tsunami."

That makes rapid and accurate predictions virtually impossible for developing countries with poor infrastructure.

False alarms, which have been common in the past, dilute the effectiveness of subsequent warnings.

Since the massive waves may travel at speeds exceeding 500 mph over deep water, scientists have scant time to interpret data.

"You're damned if you do and damned if you don't in this business," Atwater said. "It's a tough choice."

CNN

Panik Gempa

Oleh Khalid Yassin, Muhamad Ramzi Sanny, Mohamad Safar Ahmad, Al-Abror Mohd Yusof, Manan Samad, Muhd Izawan Baharin, Mohd Sabran Md Sani, Nazarali Saeril dan Sulaiman Yusof
am@hmetro.com.my

KUALA LUMPUR: Tsunami datang lagi! Itulah yang terlintas di fikiran kebanyakan penduduk di pantai barat Semenanjung sebaik merasai gegaran kuat menggoncang bangunan tinggi, sejurus selepas tengah malam tadi.

Ia sekali gus mencetuskan suasana panik disusuli jeritan penghuni flet, kondominium dan hotel sebelum masing-masing bertempiran lari menyelamatkan diri ke kawasan lapang.

Mereka kemudian diberitahu, satu gempa bumi yang boleh menyebabkan ombak besar tsunami berlaku di dasar laut di luar perairan pantai barat Sumatera, Indonesia. Gempa bumi berukuran 8.5 skala Richter itu dikesan berpusat di latitud 2.09 (utara) dan longitud 97.02 (timur), berlaku pada jam 12.09 tengah malam.

Gempa itu berlaku berhampiran pusat gempa yang mencetuskan tsunami pada 26 Disember lalu yang meragut ratusan ribu nyawa penduduk di wilayah Aceh, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia dan beberapa negara lain.

Bagaimanapun setakat jam 5.30 pagi ini tiada laporan mengenai tsunami di mana-mana kawasan sekitar Lautan Hindi.

Jabatan Perkhidmatan Kaji Cuaca memaklumkan gempa bumi itu dikhuatiri boleh mengakibatkan tsunami yang memusnahkan, sekali gus mendorong pihak berkuasa menasihatkan orang ramai yang tinggal sekitar kawasan pantai di Pulau Pinang, Perak, Kedah, Perlis dan Pulau Langkawi supaya berpindah ke kawasan lebih tinggi.

Ketua Pengarahnya, Chow Kok Kee, berkata gempa bumi ini berpotensi untuk menghasilkan tsunami yang boleh memusnahkan di lautan atau laut di mana gempa itu berlaku.

Di ibu negara, gegaran dapat dirasai di merata tempat terutama bangunan tinggi mencetuskan suasana kelam-kabut dan panik menyebabkan penduduk bergegas menyelamatkan diri dan keluarga masing-masing sehelai sepinggang.

Tinjauan Harian Metro di beberapa flet di sekitar ibu kota seperti Flet Bandaraya, Vista Angkasa di Kampung Kerinchi, Sri Sabah di Cheras, awal pagi tadi, mendapati penduduk berkumpul di luar bangunan sementara menunggu arahan lanjut daripada pihak berkuasa.

Keadaan sama turut dilihat di beberapa hotel dan tempat kunjungan ramai seperti di Jalan Bukit Bintang, di mana orang ramai panik dan terpinga-pinga mengenai apa yang sebenarnya berlaku.

Kebanyakan daripada penduduk yang ditemui terkejut dan tidak menyangka akan berlaku lagi kejadian gegaran kuat terutama selepas tragedi tsunami yang melanda 26 Disember lalu.

Siah Hassan, 44, berkata ketika sedang tidur, dia terkejut akibat kepala bergoyang tetapi menyangkakan anaknya sengaja mengusik.

“Mulanya saya ingatkan pening atau anak sengaja goyangkan katil untuk mengusik saya, tetapi apabila mendapati tiada siapa di situ, saya mula risau.

“Saya bergegas keluar mendapatkan suami yang sedang membaca al-Quran dan dia turut mengatakan rumah kami bergegar,” katanya yang tinggal di tingkat sembilan Flet Pekeliling, di sini.

Bimbang berlaku kejadian lebih buruk, mereka sekeluarga keluar menyelamatkan diri dan mendapati ramai jiran sudah berada di luar bangunan.

“Selama 17 tahun kami tinggal di sini, tidak pernah berlaku sebarang kejadian seperti tengah malam ini (tadi),” katanya.

Pekerja hotel, Hatiah Yahya, 37, berkata ketika gegaran itu berlaku, perkara pertama terlintas di fikiran adalah menyelamatkan anaknya yang berusia sebulan.

“Saya baru pulang dari mengambil anak sulung saya dari rumah jiran. Ketika hendak menukar lampin tiba-tiba berlaku gegaran kuat, menyebabkan saya pening kepala.

“Tetapi dalam keadaan panik itu, saya bergegas keluar dari rumah selepas melihat orang ramai berasak-asak turun tangga menyelamatkan diri,” katanya yang ditemui di Flet Bandaraya, Kampung Kerinchi, di sini.

Dia berkata, ketika saat genting itu, perkara paling penting adalah keselamatan anak dan dirinya kerana bimbang bangunan tempat tinggal mereka mungkin runtuh.

Penduduk, Noridah Sahat, 27, berkata dia terdengar orang menjerit Allahuakbar berulang kali dan meminta semua penduduk di Flet Bandaraya keluar menyelamatkan diri.

“Saya tidak tahu siapa yang menjerit tetapi sebaik mendengarnya saya dan keluarga terus keluar dari rumah tanpa berfikir panjang,” katanya.

Menurutnya, keadaan menjadi kelam-kabut apabila orang ramai berasak menuruni tangga sambil mendukung anak kecil.

Hmetro

Lagi gempa bumi kuat -- Gegaran pada 8.2 skala Richter turut dirasai di Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR 28 Mac - Gempa bumi kuat berukuran 8.2 skala Richter di laut utara Sumatera menggegarkan pulau itu serta Semenanjung Malaysia selain kawasan pantai Sri Lanka, selatan India, Singapura dan pantai Thailand.

Gegaran pada kira-kira pukul 11.09 malam waktu tempatan (12.09 tengah malam waktu Malaysia) boleh mengulangi ancaman tsunami yang melanda beberapa negara Asia 26 Disember lepas dan mengakibatkan 300,000 orang hilang atau maut. Ia akibat gempa berskala 9 Richter berpusat di kawasan yang sama.

Pihak berkuasa negara-negara terlibat termasuk Malaysia memberi amaran kepada penduduk pesisiran pantai yang berpotensi dilanda tsunami supaya mengambil langkah-langkah perlu.

Jabatan Kaji Cuaca Malaysia dalam satu kenyataan menasihatkan orang ramai di sekitar kawasan pantai di Pulau Pinang, Perak, Kedah, Perlis dan Pulau Langkawi supaya berpindah ke kawasan lebih tinggi.

``Gempa bumi ini berpotensi untuk menghasilkan tsunami yang boleh memusnahkan,'' jelas kenyataan itu.

Orang ramai yang tinggal di bangunan-bangunan tinggi di beberepa negeri seperti Pulau Pinang, Perak, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur dan Lembah Kelang, Melaka serta Johor, bergegas turun apabila kediaman mereka bergegar, sebagai langkah berjaga-jaga.

Kajian Geologi Amerika Syarikat (USGS) berkata, gempa bumi itu berukuran 8.2 pada skala Richter. Agensi Meteorologi Jepun pula menyatakan ia berukuran 8.5 pada skala Richter.

Gempa bumi terbaru itu berlaku tiga bulan selepas malapetaka yang sama mencetuskan ombak besar tsunami di 11 buah negara Asia dan Afrika.

Gegaran yang berlaku pada 26 Disember lalu menyebabkan lebih 174,000 orang terbunuh, 106,000 lagi hilang manakala 1.5 juta penduduk kehilangan tempat tinggal.

USGS di Golden, Colorado berkata, gempa itu berlaku pada pukul 11.09 malam waktu tempatan.

Pusat gegarannya terletak kira-kira 205 kilometer ke barat Sibolga dan 245 kilometer ke barat daya Medan.

Jurucakap Jabatan Meteorologi dan Geofizik Indonesia, berkata gegaran itu berlaku selama tiga minit di satu kawasan perairan di antara bandar Padang dan Medan.

Para pegawai Indonesia berkata, gempa bumi itu telah mencetuskan keadaan panik di kalangan para penduduk di pulau Sumatera dan menyebabkan bekalan elektrik terputus.

Sementara itu di Melaka, kira-kira 300 pesakit dan kakitangan Pusat Perubatan Melaka di arah berkumpul di pintu masuk unit kecemasan hospital itu setelah mendapat arahan dari bahagian keselamatan di situ ekoran berlakunya gegaran kuat.

Mereka berkumpul pada pukul 12.15 malam.

Gegaran lebih kurang tiga minit itu turut berlaku di kawasan berdekatan pantai seperti di Limbongan, kelebang, Tengkera, Ujong Pasir dan Melaka Raya. Sebanyak 50 penghuni di Kondominium Pasir Mas di Ujong Pasir terpaksa turun dari rumah masing-masing dan berkumpul di tempat letak kereta dan tepi jalan akibat gegaran kuat tersebut.

Semua mereka dibenarkan masuk ke rumah masing-masing pada pukul 1.50 pagi ini setelah kondominium tersebut disahkan selamat oleh Jabatan Bomba dan Penyelamat.

Utusan

Major earthquake off Sumatra sends shockwaves again

PETALING JAYA: An earthquake measuring 8.5 on the Richter scale hit just off the coast of Sumatra about 245km from Medan and 535km from here – at 12.09am and tremors were felt on the entire west coast of the peninsula causing tens of thousands of people to be evacuated from their high-rise homes and hotels.

# Bukit Aman issued a warning to all state police headquarters to be on full alert including making preparations to evacuate people from coastal areas mainly in Penang and Kedah, especially Langkawi, were worse than the Dec 26 earthquake that brought the tsunami.

# No casualty or damage was reported in Malaysia.

# Thailand, India, Africa and Indonesia all issued tsunami warnings.

TheStar

State-by-state round-up

Malacca

Chan Kwi Chin, 30, a mother of two children who was admitted to the 10-storey Mahkota Medical Centre:

“It was so scary. This was the first time I felt such a shake and it was very strong. The television in the room was shaking. I came out of the room to check what was happening, then I grabbed my children and ran out of the room with the maid. We came down by lift and called my husband,” said Chan who was among 122 patients and hundreds more relatives rushed out of the building.

Perak

Jagiee Kaur, a media consultant from Kuala Lumpur who was holidaying in Teluk Intan: My family members and I ran out of my house when the tremors began. I immediately contacted the police station and police officers on duty told me they had been receiving a lot of calls after the tremors.

Petaling Jaya

Simon Chua, 52, a taxi driver, who lives on 12th floor Kelana D'Puteri apartments in Kelana Jaya: “I was having a can of beer, when the apartment started swaying a little and saw my lazy chair moving. I thought I had too much to drink, but seconds later my son who lives on the 16th floor called me about the movement.”

Student Jaklyn Pang, 21, Kelana D'Puteri, Kelana Jaya: “I could feel the apartment swaying a little and when my housemate felt the same movement we decided to rush down.”

Alex Chia, 35, sales manager who lives on the 16th floor of Block Harmoni, Crimson Apartments in Kelana Jaya: “I had just arrived home at about 12.20am when I felt the tremors. I saw the clothes hangers hanging on the wall swaying and the drum inside the washing machine was shaking.”

Chow Kit, KL

City Fire and Rescue Department assistant director (operations) Abu Obaidat, who stays on the 15th Floor of the Menara Kota fire station in Chow Kit: “I was doing some office work on my home computer, when I suddenly started feeling dizzy for about 20 seconds.

“I thought that I was just tired and decided to turn off the compute, when the phones started ringing from the operations room informing me of the tremor.”

Taman Desa, KL

Leong Shen-min, 30, who lives on 4th floor of an apartment in Taman Desa: “I was watching television when the chimes in the hall started tinkling loudly. The surface of the water in my cup started shaking also. It was really frightening.''

Section 3, Kinrara, Subang Jaya

Shukri Halim, 28, 7th floor resident of Vista Lavender Apartments in Kinrara Section Three: “My chair started shaking so violently and I said to myself: 'Is a ghost disturbing me?' Then, I saw my son's ball moving around on the floor. I grabbed him and ran downstairs from the with my wife and drove my car out of the basement.”

Langkawi

L/Kpl Abu Hassan Ismail from Kuala Teriang police station: “About 25 villagers came (to the police station) at about 12.20am after feeling the tremors five minutes earlier. We told them to be ready for any eventualities. The hotels asked us to alert them is there were big wave. An ambulance is on standby at the station.”

Penang

Kampung Permatang Tepi Laut villager Wadi Yahaya: “I felt the tremors at 12.10am and several fishermen went around alerting the other people. The people in the area have gathered at the community hall. From the experience of the tsunami of Dec 26, our village was hit by the tsunami four hours after the earthquake occurred. This time we are taking precautions,”

Kuala Pulau Betong in Balik Pulau village head Tan Kim Hoon: “I immediately switched on to CNN to get more information, and quickly informed the people nearby to evacuate the area when I felt the tremors.”

Vijay Anandh Vela, 27, who was having a drink with his friends at a pub in Seberang Prai: “The television sets on a cabinet were moving, while many of the cars parked outside the premises were also seen moving a little. Some 20 patrons at the pub immediately rushed out of the building for safety. We felt the tremors for more than 30 seconds.”

TheStar

House collapses into sinkholes

KAMPAR: A family of five escaped death when more than half of their double-storey house sank into at least six sinkholes at Kampung Cabang Dua in Kuala Dipang near here.

The sinkholes, measuring 3m deep and at least 2m in diameter, appeared at 12.40am on Tuesday, shortly after the earthquake struck off the coast of Sumatra.

Sections of the part-wooden, part-concrete house that collapsed into the sinkholes were the living room, a ground-floor bedroom, the kitchen, a bathroom and the porch. The sinkholes also claimed the family car.

House owner Abdul Razak Shamsuddin, 44, a technician, and his wife Norsah Rizan Abdul Mutallib, 45, an executive officer at the Batu Gajah Hospital, were in the ground-floor bedroom when they heard a rumbling sound.

They rushed out, only to fall into the sinkhole that had swallowed the living room but were rescued by their 15-year-old daughter, who had been washing clothes in the bathroom. She threw a chair into the gapping hole, enabling her parents to climb out.

The three then dashed out of the house with the couple's two other daughters, aged 10 and 14, who had been upstairs watching television.

The Star

Earthquake-hit Nias Island is a haven for hard-core surfers

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (AP) - Most people probably had never heard of tiny Nias island off Indonesia's coast before it was rocked by a 8.7-magnitude quake overnight. But many serious surfers could tell you it's a waverider's paradise.

The island has long been a haven for some of the best surf in Indonesia, attracting hard-core surfers who drag their boards on buses and ferries to the remote, malaria-infested area in search of the famed reef breaks.

Nias' palm-fringed Lagundri Bay is best known to surfers for a right-handed wave that rarely disappoints. It was discovered decades ago by a few Australian surfers who kept it a secret for years until movies were made with images of the island's perfect tubing waves, luring others in search of the perfect ride.

Monday night's earthquake struck about 120 kilometers (75 miles) north of Nias, off Indonesia's Sumatra coast. It came about three months after a 9.0-magnitude quake struck a point further northwest along the Sumatra coast, spawning a tsunami that killed more than 126,000 Indonesians and leaving almost as many missing.

The latest quake didn't generate killer waves, but Indonesia's Vice President Jusuf Kalla said it may have killed up to 2,000 people on Nias. However, a Cabinet minister later said initial reports from the island indicated that between 100 and 200 had perished.

At least 340 people died on Nias in the earlier disaster and 10,000 were left homeless there among its population of about 500,000.

Dave Jenkins, a New Zealand doctor and surfer who heads a relief organization, said he didn't believe many foreign surfers were likely on Nias at the time of the latest earthquake, but he didn't elaborate.

His group, SurfAid International, has been working in hard-to-reach Nias and surrounding islands since 2000, educating people about malaria and treating malnourished children.

The group used its knowledge of the area and government contacts to reach the islands quickly after the December tragedy. Jenkins said Tuesday a boat was being stocked to go to the Banyak Islands to treat victims from the latest quake in areas only accessible by water.

"We've got the boat and we had a huge kit we haven't used from the (World Health Organization) that's big enough to treat 10,000 people for three months _ that's the total population of the Banyaks,'' Jenkins said. "We're sending two doctors and two nurses, and I'll get up there myself.''

TheStar

Tremors Cause Some 1,500 People In Penang, Kedah To Be Evacuated

KUALA LUMPUR, March 29 (Bernama) -- A total of 1,525 people along the coastal areas in Penang and Kedah were evacuated as soon as the tremors triggered by an earthquake in Sumatra occurred just past midnight Tuesday, the Dewan Rakyat was told.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said it was among the preventive measures taken by the authorities after the undersea earthquake, measuring 8.7 on the Richter scale, shook West Sumatra at 12.09am.

"As soon as the Seismology authorities received the report, it was relayed to the Malaysian Control Centre (MCC) in Bukit Aman.

"Among the first measures taken by the MCC is to alert the information authorities to issue the warning through the radio.

"We also asked police stations throughout the country to inform the people about the tremors," he said when replying to a supplementary question from Datuk Astaman Abdul Aziz (BN-Titiwangsa).

Mohamed Nazri said the tsunami alert warning was withdrawn at 6am after there were no more aftershocks at the earthquake site.

"After the first earthquake, measuring 8.5 on the Richter scale, there were 15 more tremors up to 5.26am, with the highest measuring 6 on the Richter scale and the lowest 4.6," he said.

Elaborating on the tremors at a media conference later, Mohamed Nazri said the evacuees have been allowed to return to their houses after the tsunami warning was called off.

"The evacuees were residents at coastal areas who were affected by the Dec 26 tsunami tragedy last year," he said.

He said the epicentre of the earthquake was located only 520km from Kuala Lumpur, causing areas in the Klang Valley and Melaka to experience the tremors apart from the states in northern Peninsular Malaysia.

"We (the Seismology Department) received the initial warning about five minutes after the earthquake and immediately relayed the information to the MCC which in turn alerted the relevant authorities," he said.

He said the authorities had not receive any reports of damage or casualties from the tremors so far.

Mohamed Nazri said he was satisfied with the pre-emptive actions taken by the authorities in warning the people of the incident.

"With the equipment available currently, the actions taken were satisfactory, especially in warning the public.

"The earthquake has the potential to trigger a major tsunami," he said, adding that he too felt the tremors. "It's very frightening," he said.

Earlier, replying to a supplementary question from Parliamentary Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang (DAP-Ipoh Timur), Mohamed Nazri said the authorities had done what was within their means to warn the people as television transmissions had ended by then.

He ticked off Lim for relying too much on information from the foreign wire reports as even among the foreign media there were confusion in providing the latest information.

Lim, in his question, disputed the accuracy of the scale of the earthquake given by the Malaysian authorities.

He said the Cable News Network (CNN) reported that the earthquake measured 8.7 on the Richter scale and not 8.5 as reported by the Malaysian authorities.

Replying to the original question from Astaman on the funds collected for the Dec 26 tsunami victims, Mohamed Nazri said the fund currently stood at RM60,498,619.71.

The amount, he said, did not include RM29,174,661.03 which have not been handed by the funds established by the media.

"Actually, media organisations like TV3, TV8, New Straits Times, Berita Harian, Utusan Malaysia and The Star had collected RM64,874,455.26 but the amount given to the government to be credited into the National Disaster Fund was only RM35,699,794.23 as of March 24," he said.

Bernama

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Gegaran kejutkan 3,000 pelajar UiTM di Puncak Perdana


Excerpt : BH

Oleh Hariyati Ariffin

SHAH ALAM: Lebih 3,000 pelajar dan kakitangan Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) di Puncak Perdana di sini terkejut apabila merasai beberapa gegaran kuat di kawasan itu, kelmarin.

Gegaran yang dikatakan berlaku pada jam 8 pagi dan jam 12.30 tengah hari serta sedikit gegaran pada jam 10 malam, juga menyebabkan tangga di dewan makan kampus UiTM mengalami keretakan.

Kakitangan UiTM Puncak Perdana, Suraida Salleh, 35, berkata beliau berada di dewan makan bersama seorang rakan apabila merasai gegaran yang agak kuat pada jam 12.30 tengah hari.

Beliau berkata, gegaran itu membuatkan orang ramai berasa terkejut dan terdiam seketika serta terbayangkan kemungkinan tragedi Highland Tower berulang di situ.

"Beberapa keretakan dikesan di tangga dewan makan dan pihak pentadbiran UiTM Puncak Perdana sudah dimaklumkan mengenai perkara itu. Setahu saya, sebelum ini, tangga itu tidak retak," katanya.

Seorang pelajar, Antonia Antonius, 21, berkata ketika gegaran berlaku beliau dapat berasakan badannya sedikit bergoyang dan tingkap turut sedikit bergegar.

Antonia bimbang kerana pelajar UiTM lain selalu merasakan gegaran seumpama itu sejak kira-kira sebulan lalu, namun gegaran kelmarin dianggap amat kuat berbanding sebelum ini.

Pelajar lain, Tuan Zulkiflee Tuan Yeh, 20, pula berkata, biliknya di Kolej Puncak Perdana bergegar ketika gegaran berlaku, malah komputer dan lantai juga bergoyang seolah-olah berlaku gempa bumi.

"Saya berasa agak cemas dan bertanya kepada beberapa kawan lain dan ramai yang turut mengalami peristiwa sama. Saya benar-benar harap ia tidak akan berlaku lagi," katanya.

Rakannya, Wan Mohd Faisal Wan Zaid yang sedang makan di gerai di Jalan U10 di Puncak Perdana, pula berkata tanah yang dipijak terasa bergegar dan tingkap cermin kereta bergegar.

"Kami rasa mungkin ada gempa bumi di tempat lain. Bagaimanapun, paling kami bimbang jika kolej tempat kami tinggal dan fakulti tempat kami belajar runtuh," katanya.

UiTM Puncak Perdana menempatkan dua fakulti iaitu Komunikasi dan Pengajian Maklumat serta Teknologi Maklumat, selain enam blok pangsapuri yang menempatkan kakitangan dan pelajar daripada empat fakulti.

Sementara itu Pegawai perhubungan Awam Majlis Bandaraya Shah Alam (MBSA) Shahrin Ahmad, menolak kemungkinan gegaran itu berpunca daripada beberapa projek yang dijalankan di sekitar itu.

Sambil menyatakan tidak mengetahui punca sebenar gegaran berkenaan, beliau berkata, semua kerja yang membabitkan projek perumahan sudah pun diberhentikan beberapa minggu lalu.

Penat lelah Rani Mukherjee diiktiraf

Excerpt : Bh

MUMBAI: Aktres handalan Bollywood, Rani Mukherjee, tidak pernah menyangka watak sebagai gadis buta dan pekak dalam filem ‘Black’ yang mendapat pujian pengkritik akhirnya membuka jalan untuk dia diiktiraf sebagai pelakon sebenar.

“Saya gembira kerana akhirnya industri ini mengiktiraf saya. Kini media menyedari usaha keras ini dan saya diberi penghormatan dalam cara begitu yang begitu baik,” kata Rani yang dipuji melalui wataknya sebagai gadis buta dan pekak dalam filem arahan Sanjay Leela Bhansali itu.

Pelakon berdarah Bengali itu berkata, sudah terlalu lama orang yang menyayanginya kecewa apabila melihat dia sekadar menyampaikan anugerah pada majlis pengiktirafan kepada golongan seni.

“Akhirnya saya berpeluang meraih anugerah. Keluarga saya sebenarnya lebih gembira dari saya,” katanya.

Rani, yang berada di tangga ke-10 senarai selebriti paling berpengaruh dalam industri perfileman Bollywood sekali gus menyingkirkan Aishwarya Rai, juga tidak fikir keberkesanan lakonannya dalam filem ‘Black’ membuatkan aktres lain berasa terancam.

“Secara jujur, saya tidak suka bersaing. Bagi saya, keluarga adalah perkara paling penting dalam hidup selepas kerjaya. Selepas penggambaran, saya terus balik ke rumah.

“Saya tidak pernah merancang karier saya. Saya tidak pernah merancang untuk berlakon dalam ‘Black’. Saya tidak pernah muncul dalam mimpi Sanjay dan meminta dia memilih saya. Dia pasti melihat hasil kerja saya sebelum membuat keputusan,” katanya.

Kejayaan ‘Black’ juga memberikan sebab untuk Rani berasa lebih gembira berbanding sebelumnya.

“Sudah pasti saya lebih gembira kerana ramai orang yang percaya pada saya. Javed Akhtar (penulis lirik terkenal) berkata, dia berasa orang memujinya apabila mereka memuji saya.

“Saya juga berasa pengarah seperti Karan Johar, Aditya Chopra dan Sanjay memilih pelakon berdasarkan kesesuaian. Jika mereka memilih saya, mesti ada sesuatu istimewa mengenai saya. Jika pengarah lain berasa saya tidak sesuai untuk watak itu, saya terima dengan hari terbuka,” katanya. – Agensi

Fires under control, but air quality remains low

Excerpt : TheStar

BY FLORENCE A. SAMY and NG CHENG YEE

PETALING JAYA: The peat swamp and forest fires in the country are under control, with the fires in about 70% of the affected areas already doused, said Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting.

The air quality, however, continued to drop yesterday, with the Department of Environment’s (DOE) operations room recording unhealthy air levels at 11 locations in the Klang Valley and surrounding areas compared to eight on Friday.

Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had instructed the Health Ministry and the Meteorological Services Department to update the public on the air quality index.

Stressing that the current poor air quality was due to thick smoke and not haze, the Prime Minister said it was important to let the public know so that they could take precautions.

“They have been instructed to publish the index in the newspapers so that people can plan their outdoor activities,” the Prime Minister told reporters after opening the RM1.8bil manufacturing plant in Proton City in Tanjung Malim, Perak, yesterday.

Abdullah, who arrived late for the ceremony, said his helicopter had to return to Putrajaya midway to the plant due to poor visibility. He then left for Tanjung Malim by car.

“Until the air quality improves, schools should halt all outdoor extra-curricular activities and postpone sports meets,” he added.

Ong said fire-fighters used fire-breaks and total flooding techniques to control and put out the fires.

Fires in 6,747ha of the 9,177.2ha of land had been extinguished. Mi17 and the Agusta A109 helicopters were also used to monitor and send equipment to the fire-fighters.

“The main problem faced by the Fire and Rescue Department was access to the forest areas. Helicopters were used to transport firemen to the affected sites,” he told reporters after opening the Education Revitalisation Pillar of the Lifelong Learning Programme at Wisma MCA in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Ong said leave for 2,000 fire-fighters had been frozen as they need to be deployed to combat the fires, which are mostly peat swamp fires.

Fire department assistant director-general (operations) Mohd Husain Ahmad Takin said it would take one or two weeks to douse the fires and embers, and even sooner if there was rain.

“Smouldering fires and embers on logs and peat soil emit a lot of smoke and take time to be extinguished.

“The next phase will be time-consuming because we have to make sure that the smouldering fires are completely extinguished,” he added.

Mohd Husain said hotspots were currently detected in five states – Selangor, Johor, Pahang, Perak and Kelantan.

“We have sufficient manpower and equipment but there are problems getting to water sources and accessing some forested areas.

“Also, we are only able to work in the day as it’s dangerous to step on burning peat soil at night,” he said, adding that they were also using heavy vehicles with tyres fitted with chains for traction in the soft peat soil.

He said that in Selangor, more than 70% of the 7,805ha of the burning areas had been doused while 15ha of the 24ha in Lobok Bakul, Pagoh, Muar in Johor, were no longer on fire.

“The fire affecting 780ha in Kuala Rompin, Pahang was under control and efforts were ongoing to extinguish the smouldering flames.

“In Kelantan, 50% of the 400ha of land in Kuala Betis, Gua Musang, that had been up in flames since Thursday, had been doused while in Perak, fires had been extinguished in 82ha out of 108ha of land,” he added.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Suhu 21 Mac dijangka 40% Celsius


Excerpt : utusan

Oleh: S. ANAND KUMAR

KUALA LUMPUR 24 Feb. - Negara akan mengalami pancaran matahari paling terik pada 21 Mac ini dengan suhu dijangka mencecah 40 darjah Celsius ekoran fenomena ekuinoks.

Pada tarikh itu, matahari yang sedang bergerak dari kawasan hemisfera selatan ke hemisfera utara akan berada betul-betul di atas garisan khatulistiwa yang menyebabkan keadaan panas terik.

Jurucakap Pusat Ramalan Kaji Cuaca, Jabatan Perkhidmatan Kaji Cuaca ketika dihubungi di sini, hari ini berkata, pada masa itu, pancaran matahari akan tepat ke bumi yang menyebabkan keadaan bumi lebih panas dan suhu akan meningkat.

``Akibatnya, pada hari tersebut kita akan merasai cuaca yang amat panas kerana sinaran matahari yang terik.

``Bagaimanapun ia tidak berada di tahap yang membahayakan atau membimbangkan, tetapi diharapkan orang ramai tidak akan berjemur atau melakukan terlalu banyak aktiviti luar,'' katanya.

Jurucakap itu berkata demikian ketika diminta menjelaskan fenomena ekuinoks yang dikatakan menjadi penyebab kepada suhu panas sekarang.

Semalam Penolong Ketua Pengarah jabatan berkenaan, Wong Teck Kiong berkata, keadaan itu tidak dapat mengatasi rekod yang pernah dicatatkan iaitu 40.1 darjah Celsius pada 9 April 1998 di Chuping, Perlis.

Menurut jurucakap itu, ekuinoks bukanlah satu kejadian yang luar biasa yang berlaku secara tiba-tiba.

``Biasanya negara mengalami suasana panas begini dua kali setahun kerana kedudukan Malaysia berhampiran dengan garisan khatulistiwa,'' katanya.

Tambah jurucakap itu, pihaknya menjangkakan cuaca panas dan kering akan berlarutan sehingga penghujung bulan depan.

Bagaimanapun kata beliau, kebakaran hutan yang berlaku di beberapa tempat di seluruh negara sekarang bukan disebabkan oleh fenomena itu, tetapi pelbagai faktor lain termasuk kecuaian manusia.

``Kebakaran hutan yang kerap berlaku sekarang bukanlah disebabkan oleh fenomena ekuinoks ini,'' katanya.

Dua lelaki korban terbaru kes demam denggi

Excerpt : Utusan

PUTRAJAYA 24 Feb. - Dua lagi kematian akibat demam denggi dicatatkan pada minggu ketujuh menjadi jumlah keseluruhan 24 kes di seluruh negara sepanjang tahun ini.

Pengarah Bahagian Kawalan Penyakit Kementerian Kesihatan, Dr. Ramlee Rahmat berkata, kes kematian itu dicatatkan di Kuala Lumpur dan Melaka membabitkan dua lelaki masing-masing berumur 54 dan 21 tahun.

Katanya, kes kematian itu dilaporkan berlaku di Hospital Selayang pada 16 Februari, manakala satu lagi kes kematian berlaku di Hospital Besar Melaka pada 6 Februari.

``Jumlah ini telah mengatasi angka kematian akibat denggi pada minggu ketujuh tahun lepas yang hanya enam kes,'' katanya kepada pemberita pada sidang akhbar mingguan perkembangan denggi di sini, hari ini.

Dalam perkembangan berkaitan, Ramlee berkata, kes denggi pada minggu ketujuh juga mengalami peningkatan sebanyak 124 kes daripada 963 kes minggu lalu kepada 1,087.

Katanya, kebanyakan negeri mencatatkan peningkatan kecuali empat buah negeri yang menunjukkan penurunan kes iaitu Negeri Sembilan 10 kes, Sabah (sembilan), Pahang (tiga) dan Labuan (dua).

Beliau berkata, Selangor masih mencatatkan negeri yang mempunyai kes tertinggi iaitu 427, diikuti Kuala Lumpur (172), Perak (125), Pulau Pinang (63) dan Johor (43).

``Kita lihat ada peningkatan di kebanyakan negeri dan semua Jabatan Kesihatan Negeri diarahkan meningkatkan usaha pengawalan dan pencegahan secara berterusan supaya jumlah kes denggi dapat dikurangkan,'' katanya.

Sementara itu, beliau meminta pihak pemaju turut memainkan peranan dalam usaha mengawal wabak denggi berikutan jumlah tapak pembinaan yang didapati positif menjadi tempat pembiakan aedes masih tinggi.

``Di Selangor, daripada 101 tapak pembinaan yang diperiksa pada minggu ketujuh, kita dapati 69 positif dan dari 34 tapak pembinaan di Kuala Lumpur, 27 daripadanya positif,'' katanya.

Kebakaran hutan kian buruk -- * Lebih 8,000 hektar musnah * Bomba hadapi kesukaran padamkan api

Excerpt : utusan

Oleh: ISMAIL DAUD, MOHD. ROMZI SAMSUDIN, NIEZAM ABDULLAH, MOHD. FAIRUZ YUSUF dan RAHMAN DAUD

KUALA LUMPUR 24 Feb. - Lebih 8,000 hektar hutan musnah terbakar di lima kawasan di Semenanjung ketika cuaca panas sekarang yang memaksa Pasukan Bomba dan Penyelamat berhempas-pulas mengawal dan memadamkan kebakaran tersebut.

Memburukkan lagi keadaan, apabila Jabatan Kaji Cuaca meramalkan cuaca panas itu akan berterusan sehingga penghujung bulan depan.

Pasukan Bomba dan Penyelamat juga menghadapi kesukaran untuk menjalankan kerja-kerja memadam ekoran kekurangan peralatan selain kesukaran menghampiri kawasan kebakaran.

``Hanya sedikit sahaja daripada lima kawasan tersebut berjaya dipadam dan pasukan bomba menghadapi masalah air serta laluan yang tidak mengizinkan ke tempat kejadian,'' kata Pegawai Perhubungan Awam Jabatan Bomba dan Penyelamat, Norizan Sulaiman kepada Utusan Malaysia hari ini.

Dalam satu kes di Batang Berjuntai, Selangor yang menyaksikan kebakaran hutan yang paling luas iaitu 7,805.2 hektar, pasukan bomba telah berusaha memadamkan api sejak 14 Februari lagi.

Tinjauan udara oleh Utusan Malaysia di kawasan itu hari ini pula mendapati, kawasan sekitarnya diselubungi asap tebal akibat kebakaran tersebut.

Dalam kes terbaru yang dikesan semalam di Gua Musang, Kelantan pula, kebakaran yang memusnahkan 400 hektar itu lebih bahaya kerana berlaku di puncak gunung batu kapur.

Menurut jurucakap bomba di kawasan itu, jika kebakaran tersebut lambat dikawal ia boleh meruntuhkan kepingan batu kapur dan kemungkinan mengancam keselamatan orang ramai terutama pengguna jalan raya.

Seorang pakar hutan ketika dihubungi hari ini berkata, kebakaran di lima kawasan itu telah mengakibatkan kerosakan kepada sistem ekologi selain memusnahkan kayu-kayan berharga.

Dalam pada itu, Norizan berkata, kawasan yang turut diancam kebakaran hutan ekoran cuaca panas sekarang ialah di Pahang.

Ia membabitkan tiga daerah meliputi keluasan 280 hektar yang dikesan pada 14 Februari lalu selain di Pagoh, Johor dengan 24 hektar hutan turut terbakar.

``Satu lagi kawasan hutan yang terbakar ialah membabitkan kawasan seluas 14.8 hektar di Gunung Kenderong, Gerik, Perak yang dikesan terbakar semula semalam,'' katanya.

Sebelum ini kebakaran yang berlaku di gunung itu membabitkan kawasan seluas 188 hektar telah berjaya dipadam dan operasi memadam telah dihentikan minggu lalu.

Di kawasan Batang Berjuntai, Norizan berkata: ``Pasukan bomba hanya menggunakan bom air dalam operasi memadam di kawasan itu dengan bantuan Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia yang melibatkan 106 anggota termasuk pegawai Jabatan Hutan Semenanjung.

``Empat kawasan lagi, kami terpaksa menggali parit bagi mengalirkan air dari tempat lain.''

Setakat ini, kebakaran tersebut masih terkawal, malah beberapa agensi termasuk Jabatan Kerja Raya dan kira-kira 10 anggota bomba telah mengambil langkah-langkah tertentu selain melakukan pemantauan untuk mengelakkan sebarang kejadian yang tidak diingini.

Di Klang, Penolong Pengarah Operasi Pasukan Bomba dan Penyelamat Selangor, Norhisham Mohammad berkata, kebakaran di Batang Berjuntai sudah merebak dari 63 kilometer persegi pada Selasa kepada 81 kilometer persegi hari ini.

Katanya, api sukar di kawal sebab faktor hutan tebal dan tanah jenis gambut selain cuaca panas berangin serta kesukaran mencari sumber air.

Menurut beliau, 200 anggota dari Selangor dikerah mengawal kebakaran itu dengan dibantu 100 lagi anggota dari Kuala Lumpur, Negeri Sembilan dan Melaka.

Di Kuantan, 90 anggota bomba telah dikerah untuk memadamkan kebakaran hutan gambut dan ladang kelapa sawit di daerah Kuantan, Pekan dan Rompin.

Pengarah Jabatan Bomba dan Penyelamat Pahang, Ab. Ghani Daud berkata, kebakaran ini telah menyebabkan berlakunya pencemaran udara dan anggota bomba terpaksa bekerja keras bagi memadamkan api untuk mengurangkan pencemaran berlaku dengan lebih serius.

Di Kota Bharu, kebakaran puncak Bukit Gua Serai di Gua Musang sejak Isnin lalu dapat dikawal walaupun pada ketika ini asap masih lagi menyelubungi kawasan bukit berkenaan.

Pegawai Perhubungan Awam, Jabatan Bomba dan Penyelamat Kelantan, Sharberi Zakaria berkata, anggota bomba telah diarahkan mengawal keadaan dalam tempoh 24 jam untuk mengelak sebarang kejadian yang tidak diingini berlaku.

``Selain itu, kerja-kerja memadam agak terganggu kerana batu serta tanah dari bukit berkenaan sering runtuh yang boleh mengancam nyawa anggota bomba,'' katanya.

Di Ipoh, kebakaran kali kedua di Gunung Kenderong sejak Isnin lalu berlaku kira-kira 500 dan 800 meter dari kawasan kebakaran lama pada ketinggian antara 429 dan 594 meter dari paras laut.

Ia membabitkan dua tompokan di sebelah utara gunung itu. Paling teruk adalah tompokan di paras 561 meter di mana seluas lima hingga 10 hektar hutan di situ sudah terbakar.

Kebakaran pertama di Gunung Kenderong bermula 2 Februari lalu merebak ke kawasan seluas 200 hektar dan padam secara semula jadi dua minggu kemudian.

Di Johor Bahru, selain kebakaran hutan di Pagoh, Pasukan Bomba dan Penyelamat negeri turut menerima pelbagai mengenai kebakaran lalang dan belukar.

Jurucakap Bomba dan Penyelamat negeri berkata, kebanyakan kebakaran yang berlaku disebabkan cuaca panas dan kering sekarang ini dan anggota bomba sentiasa bersiap-sedia bagi memastikan ia dapat dikawal.

Much Scope For SMEs To Be Further Developed, Says Abdullah

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 25 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi Friday said there is much scope for small and medium scale enterprises to be further developed so that they assume a greater role as an engine of growth in the nation's economy.

He said there were about 690,000 SME establishments in Malaysia, which represent 92 percent of total manufacturing establishments.

"They contribute about 30 percent of total employment but less than 10 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP)," he said at the launching of the Bank Negara Malaysia LINK (Laman Informasi Khidmat dan Nasihat) here.

Also present was Bank Negara Governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz.

The Prime Minister reiterated that the government was committed to the development of SMEs.

Abdullah said he personally chairs the high-level national SMEs Development Council to chart the strategic positioning and future direction for SMES.

The council would drive the policy measures necessary to achieve this including initiatives to strengthen the data base on SMEs.

In her speech, Dr Zeti said Bank Negara's LINK would centralise all interfaces with the SMEs on issues that relate to matters on access to financing and thereby contribute towards enhancing their value-added to the economy.

LINK would also provide support to the central bank's SMEs special unit in a number of areas associated with access to financing.

-- BERNAMA

Man Slashed To Death After Quarrel

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 25 (Bernama) -- A Malaysia Airlines (MAS) engineer was slashed to death after a quarrel at the KM3.7 Seremban-Kuala Lumpur Highway near Desa Petaling, here Friday night.

Brickfields OCPD ACP Zulhasnan Najib Baharudin said the victim, Lau Kok Seng, 35, from Titi Gajah, Alor Star, Kedah died at the scene when his assailant slashed him with a parang at about 7.30pm.

"Lau, who was driving a Proton Waja car, was on his way to Salak Selatan from Subang Jaya to have dinner with his girlfriend when the incident happened," he told reporters at the scene.

He said the attacker, who was following Lau's car, ordered him to stop by the road side and a quarrel ensued between the two before the man returned to his car and came back with a parang and slashed him.

"Lau, who was slashed on the left side of his neck, died on the spot," he said.

However, Lau's girlfriend was not injured during the incident but she could not provide details of the incident as she was in a state of panic.

"We are still taking down statements from her. Based on initial details, the suspect drove a silver Volvo or Mercedes Benz.

"We are working on the theory that the motive could be revenge," he said.

The case has been classified as murder.

Lau's body was sent to the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Hospital for a post-mortem.

Police also appealed to the public who witnessed the incident or has information to contact the Brickfields police station at 03-2274 2222.

--BERNAMA

Hundreds of hotspots detected in six states

Excerpt : TheStar
PETALING JAYA: Hundreds of fires have broken out in Peninsular Malaysia – forcing the Fire and Rescue Department to activate its national operation centre in Putrajaya and mobilise more than 2,000 personnel.

According to the department, the fires, which are technically termed as hotspots, were ravaging 8,600ha of land in six states – Selangor, Perak, Pahang, Johor, Kelantan and Kedah.

The hotspots, most of which were peat fires, have resulted in the deterioration of air quality, with Port Klang and Bukit Rambai in Malacca recording unhealthy air quality since Wednesday.

Kuala Lumpur was hazy yesterday with the air having a burning smell.

DOUSING THE FLAMES: Firefighters quelling fires at the Raja Muda Musa forest reserve in Batang Berjuntai, Kuala Selangor, yesterday. Bushfires such as these have been blamed for the haze in some parts of Selangor.So far no life has been lost or properties damaged as the fires were in remote areas and forest reserves.

Fire department assistant directorgeneral (Operations) Mohd Husain Ahmad Takin said the latest fires detected yesterday were in Kg Kuala Betis, Gua Musang, covering some 400ha and Felda Lubok Merbau, Kedah (40ha).
“We are using our helicopters to drop off teams in some areas to remain in the jungle for up to five days to battle the fires,” he added.

The biggest fires were in Selangor with 7,880ha affected.

Click to view pageKelantan had 406ha burning, Pahang 282ha, Kedah 40ha, Johor 24ha and Perak 14ha.

“Many of these fires have been raging since Feb 12,” he said.

Mohd Husain said that from Wednesday, some 100 firemen from Kuala Lumpur, Negri Sembilan and Malacca had been deployed to beef up operations in Selangor.

He said that in some areas firemen were using excavators and bulldozers to build trenches to stop the fires from spreading.

“But for peat fires, it is difficult to pinpoint the exact location of the fire as it usually spreads underground,” he added.

The Malaysian Meteorological Services Department’s weather forecast centre’s principal assistant director Wong Teck Kiong said the hot and dry weather was expected to continue until the end of March.

He said the temperature shot up to a blistering 38.3°C in Alor Star on Sunday, marking the second highest temperature recorded in the country.
The department’s highest ever temperature was recorded on April 9, 1998 when the mercury rose to 40.1°C in Chuping, Perlis.

Wong said the daytime temperature has been hovering around 37°C in most towns for the past two weeks compared with the usual average of between 34°C and 35°C.

Tenaga Nasional Berhad, in a statement yesterday, said that power consumption was at an all time high, peaking at 12,238MW on Wednesday because of the heatwave.

HAZE IS HERE: Hazy conditions near the Shah Alam toll of the New Klang Valley Expressway at noon yesterday.“Every one degree in temperature above 34°C will result in demand escalating up to 400MW.

“In coping with this, TNB is vigilantly monitoring its power supply system to its customers to avoid overloading situations,” the statement said, adding that consumers must use electricity efficiently to prevent overloading.