Thursday, 20 June 2013
The MacAlister Road tragedy
This Penang Island Municipal Council (MPPP) video below gives a technical explanation of what could have happened when the concrete structure at the Menara UMNO broke loose and punched the ground below.
From what I understood after watching the video, the concrete did not fall flat on the road because the impact area was relatively small. Rather, it drilled straight into the ground like a nail. As the original structure was about 38 metres high and only about 10 metres of concrete laid exposed on the ground, the MPPP believed that there was still about 28 metres of concrete below the surface. When it fell, it dragged the right side of a car, including the driver, into the ground as well.
There was no way to recover the man's remains beneath the remaining concrete. Heart-breaking news for everyone, especially the family members of the victim.
The MPPP also believed that the design of the top of the building could have a contributory factor to the concrete structure breaking off. Because of the shape of the wall and the direction from which the gale was blowing, the flow of air around it became strong enough to attack the weakest points on the rooftop. All the forces added up and they tore off the lightning arrestor and supporting concrete.
In my opinion, this is the latest evidence of how global warming and climate change are going to affect our daily lives. I would expect that from now on, strong winds and gale-force winds will be regular features of our tropical weather here in the northern part of the peninsula. As the polar icecaps start melting and the ocean temperatures go up, the wind patterns will change around the world. It's a global phenomenon. We may live far away from the melting icecaps but there is no way that we won't be affected too. This tragedy in MacAlister Road on 13 June 2013 is just a warning sign of more natural disasters to come.