CHUKAI: Almost 70 people from 13 families in Kemaman and Kuala Nerus were made homeless after strong winds and high waves lashed several coastal villages off the South China Sea.
A police spokesman said that those affected were from Jalan Pantai Teluk Lipat in Dungun, Kampung Geliga Baru in Kemaman and Kampung Tengah Mengabang Telipot in Kuala Nerus.
The spokesman said the adverse weather began around 6.30pm and caused sea waters to rise up to one metre at the affected villages.
One of the 38 victims from Kemaman, Mohd Naim Abdullah, 41, said he and fellow residents panicked as the strong waves continued lashing their homes following gale-force like winds from the South China Sea.
Naim said he quickly scrambled his wife, Noros Faizal Mohamad Gati, 30, and his three children, aged between three and 11, to safety.
Naim added he managed to cart away a television set and a refrigerator to higher ground.
Police and local residents helped the affected lot to be sheltered at nearby community halls in Pekan Lama Kemasik, Dewan Geliga Baru and Surau Haji Ali.
Over at Kuala Nerus, 29 affected people from four families spent their time with relatives on higher ground.
A victim, Yahya Muda, 65, said the residents did not think twice to wait for the situation to calm and decided to put safety first by seeking shelter with their relatives.
A 200m section of Jalan Pantai Teluk Lipat was eroded by the strong waves.
Resident Agus Hamzah called on the authorities to build a bund across their coastal villages to prevent further erosion.
The Drainage and Irrigation Department is looking into the matter while the Meteorological Department has forecast adverse weather until tomorrow (Tuesday).