by Peter Boonreporters@theborneopost.com. Posted on September 5, 2011, Monday
SIBU: Thousands of festive revellers and holidaymakers, back from the week-long break, jammed the express boat terminal here yesterday, turning it into a hive of human activities.
Women and children were seen cautiously disembarking from express boats in a bid to get home in time for school today.
Workers, too, joined the crowd, as today will be the start of a busy week.
Outside the terminal, dozens of taxi drivers waited patiently for prospective customers.
A glaring contrast to the situation a week ago where there were few activities and ticketing clerks were seen engrossed in reading newspapers.
The merry atmosphere was so noisy that it could easily exceed the threshold of 80 decibel as one could not hear the cellphone ringing.
Perhaps, the busiest persons in the terminal yesterday were porters as they rushed to carry their clients’ bags and other heavy belongings.
They were seen all over the place, as this was a rare opportunity to make some extra money.
Meanwhile, Sarawak Rivers Board (SRB) enforcement officers on the beat were seen mounting checks on express boats to ensure the safety of passengers.
Near the pontoon, Malaysian Civil Defence Department voluntary officer Yunus Ajol, who led a six-man team, had been keeping an eye on the situation since early morning.
“Our job is to provide backup and assistance in case of an emergency at the terminal and wharf such as people accidentally falling into the river,” Yunus told The Borneo Post.
He revealed that they were stationed there since Aug 26 and yesterday being their last, from 8am till 4pm daily.
He said Kapit had the biggest crowd, and “people are rushing back as schools reopen tomorrow (today).”
Yunus said they were working closely with other government agencies such as SRB and police to prevent any untoward incident.
He was glad that everything went smoothly throughout the operation. asked on the availability of ambulance service, he assured that it was only a phone call away.
“On normal days, we perform a myriad of services such as removing of hornet hives, catching snakes and emergency response to accidents,” said Yunus, who had been a volunteer since 1992.