Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Woman Dies In Tsunami Scare

KOTA KINABALU, Feb 7 (Bernama) -- A woman from Kampung Mengkabong, Tuaran, about 34km from here, died after experiencing difficulty breathing following a 20-metre hill climb in a desperate attempt to escape a rumoured tsunami last Saturday night.

The victim, Eyah Aris, 66, and her husband and two children, were among over 1,000 villagers who had fled their homes to a mosque on top of the hill at about 9 pm after a tsunami scare that was found to be a hoax.

Eyah's niece, Semiah Midin, 39, said her aunt and other family members ran from their house after hearing people screaming that the sea had risen and was flooding their village.

The villagers, including Eyah, panicked and ran towards the mosque about 100 metres from the village, she said Monday.

Once there, Eyah, who had asthma, complained of breathing difficulty, she said.

"People then sent her to the Turan district hospital but she was confirmed dead on arrival," Semiah said.

Eyah's remains were buried at the village cemetery yesterday afternoon.

The tsunami rumour spread fast after an earthquake measuring 7.2 on the Richter scale occurred in the sea off Mindanao (Philippines), about 780km from Kota Kinabalu. -- BERNAMA

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