Landslide at Malaysian campsite kills 21 people, including children

Landslide at Malaysian campsite kills 21 people, including children
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  • Landslide tore up farm campsite overnight
  • 450 thousand cubic meters of soil was moved
  • Of the dead, 5 were children and 12 were women; 12 missing
  • Hundreds of people participating in the search mission

BATANG KALI, Malaysia, December 16 (Reuters) – At least 21 people, including children, were killed in a landslide as they slept in their tents at an unlicensed campsite in Malaysia on Friday, officials said. survivors

The landslide in the state of Selangor, bordering the capital Kuala Lumpur, occurred before 3 a.m. (1900 GMT) and destroyed a slope to an organic farm that officials say is operating the campground illegally.

According to the fire and rescue department, five children and 12 women were among the victims.

The disaster occurred in Batang Kali, about 50 km (30 miles) north of Kuala Lumpur, just outside the popular hilly region of the Genting Highlands, known for its resorts, waterfalls and natural beauty.

The earth fell from an estimated height of 30 meters (100 ft) and covered an area of ​​about one acre (0.4 hectares), according to the state director of the fire and rescue department.

The ranchers did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Two Myanmar nationals told Reuters that they managed to escape with the others after being woken up by neighbors just minutes before the farmhouse was destroyed.

Thawng Uk, 35, said, “I’ve never seen such a terrible event. I was so shocked and horrified.”

“We couldn’t bring anything because we were running urgently… We’re asking around where to find shelter and food.”

His 31-year-old colleague Kung Tuang said he feared they would lose their jobs because the farm was destroyed.

According to Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, minister of natural resources, environment and climate change, an initial inspection showed that an embankment of about 450,000 cubic meters had collapsed.

According to the Malaysian National Disaster Management Agency, 94 people were stranded in the landslide, but 61 people are safe and 12 are missing.

Health Minister Zaliha Mustafa said that seven people, including a pregnant woman, were injured, while others suffered from minor cuts to a suspected spinal injury.

Police said nearly 400 personnel participated in the rescue mission.

The Singapore government said in a statement that three Singaporeans were among the rescued.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong offered his condolences to his Malaysian counterpart, Anwar Ibrahim, and offered his assistance in the search and rescue efforts.


Pictures posted on Dad’s Organic Farm Facebook page show a farmhouse in a small valley with ample space for tents.

Local Government Development Minister Nga Kor Ming told reporters that the owners are allowed to run organic farms, but have not applied for licenses to operate three campsites on the property.

Owners could face up to three years in prison or a fine of 50,000 ringgit ($11,300) if found guilty of violating the law, Nga said, adding that he has ordered campsites nationwide near rivers, slopes and other high-risk areas to be closed for seven days. days.

Local television footage shows the aftermath of a major landslide in a steep, forested area by the side of a road, while footage on social media shows rescuers climbing over thick mud, large trees and other rubble.

Minister Nik Nazmi said, “I pray that the missing victims will be found as soon as possible.”

Selangor is the wealthiest state in the country and has previously suffered landslides, often attributed to forest and land clearing.

Landslides are common in Malaysia but usually happen after heavy rains. Floods occur frequently with around 21,000 people displaced due to heavy rain in seven states last year.

Leong Jim Meng, a camper, said he didn’t expect landslides as there was only light drizzle in the last few days.

“My family and I were trapped when the earth covered our tent,” he told the Malay newspaper Berita Harian. “We managed to run to the parking lot and called the authorities. They arrived pretty quickly, about 30 minutes later.”

($1 = 4.4180 ringgit)

The news prepared by Rozanna Latiff, Yantoultra Ngui, Hasnoor Hussein, Ebrahim Harris, Angie Teo and Xinghui Kok; Written by Lincoln Feast; Editing by Ed Davies, Martin Petty, Gerry Doyle, Nick Macfie and Tomasz Janowski

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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