Death toll at Malaysia campsite landslide rises to 23 - GulfToday

Death toll at Malaysia campsite landslide rises to 23

Rescue teams continue the search for victims caught in a landslide in Batang Kali, Malaysia. AP

Gulf Today Report

At least 23 people, including children, have died in a landslide while they slept in an unauthorized camp in Malaysia, while search teams drained thick silt and cut down trees in search of survivors.

The landslide occurred in Selangor state, on the outskirts of the capital, Kuala Lumpur, at around 3 am (1900 GMT) and flattened a hillside on an organic farm that officials say was operating the camp illegally.

The Fire and Rescue Department said five children and 12 women were among the victims. The disaster occurred about 50 km north of Kuala Lumpur in Batang Kali, next to the Genting Highlands region known for its resorts, waterfalls and picturesque nature.

The landslide occurred from an estimated height of about 30 meters above the camp site and covered an area of about an acre, according to the director of the state fire and rescue department.

Two of the farm workers, who are Myanmar nationals, told reporters that they had managed to escape with others after they received an alert from neighbours, minutes before the farm was destroyed.

"I have never seen such a terrifying incident," said Thuang Ok, 35. I am shocked and terrified.”
"We couldn't bring anything with us because we ran so fast," he added. His colleague Kong Twang, 31, said he feared losing his job after the farm was destroyed.

A preliminary investigation showed that nearly 450,000 cubic meters of land collapsed, according to Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmed, Minister of Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change.

Malaysia's National Disaster Management Agency said 94 people were trapped in the landslide, 61 were found unharmed, and 12 are still missing.

Health Minister Zulekha Mustafa told a press conference that seven people were injured, including a pregnant woman, while others sustained injuries ranging from minor injuries to suspected spinal injuries.

Police said nearly 400 personnel were involved in the rescue operation, and the Singapore government said in a statement that three of its citizens were among the survivors.

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