- A landslide tore through the farm camp overnight
- 450,000 cubic meters of soil moved – Minister
- Among the dead were 5 children, 12 women; 12 people are missing
- Hundreds of people are involved in the search
Padang Kali, Malaysia, Dec. 16 (Reuters) At least 21 people, including children, were killed in a landslide in an unauthorized camp in Malaysia when they were sleeping in tents, officials said. Survivors.
The landslide occurred at 3 a.m. (1900 GMT) in the state of Selangor, which borders the capital Kuala Lumpur, tearing down a hillside on an organic farm that officials said was operating the camp illegally.
The Fire and Rescue Department said five children and 12 women were among the victims.
The disaster struck about 50 km (30 mi) north of Kuala Lumpur in Padang Kali, just outside the Genting Highlands, a popular hilltop region known for its resorts, waterfalls and natural beauty.
The state director of fire and rescue said the earth fell from a height of 30 meters (100 feet) and covered an area of about an acre (0.4 hectare).
The farm owners did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Two of its workers, both Myanmar nationals, told Reuters they managed to escape with others after being urged on by neighbors minutes before the farmhouse was destroyed.
“I have never seen such a terrible incident. I feel very shocked and scared,” said 35-year-old Thawng Uk.
“We ran in such a hurry that we could not bring anything… We are asking where we can get shelter and food.”
His colleague Kung Tuong, 31, said he feared they would lose their jobs as the farm was destroyed.
According to the Minister of Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmed, preliminary investigations show that around 450,000 cubic meters of earth has collapsed.
Malaysia’s National Disaster Management Agency said 94 people were trapped in the landslide, but 61 were safe and 12 were missing.
Seven people, including a pregnant woman, were injured, while others had suspected injuries ranging from minor cuts to spinal injuries, Health Minister Zaliha Mustafa said.
Police said around 400 personnel were involved in the rescue operation.
The Singapore government said in a statement that three Singaporeans were among those rescued.
Its Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong offered condolences to Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and offered assistance in search and rescue operations.
Pictures posted on the father’s organic farm Facebook page show a farmhouse in a small valley with a large area where tents can be pitched.
Its owners were allowed to run organic farms but did not apply for licenses to run three camps on the property, Local Government Development Minister Nga Kor Ming told reporters.
Owners can be jailed for up to three years or fined up to 50,000 ringgit ($11,300) if found guilty of violating the law, Nga said, ordering the closure of camps near rivers, mountains and other high-risk areas for seven days. days.
Local television footage showed the aftermath of a large landslide through steep, forested terrain near the road, while images on social media showed people climbing over thick mud, large trees and other debris.
“I pray that the missing people are found safely soon,” tweeted Minister Nick Nazmi.
Selangor is the most affluent state in the country and has experienced landslides before, mostly due to forest and land clearance.
Landslides are common in Malaysia, but usually after heavy rains. Floods are frequent, with rains in seven states displacing about 21,000 people last year.
Leong Jim Meng, the manager, said that since there has only been light rain in recent days, no landslide is expected.
“My family and I were trapped because mud covered our tent. We ran to the parking lot and called the authorities,” he told Malay-language daily Perida Harian. They came very quickly after 30 minutes.”
($1 = 4.4180 ringgit)
Report 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 MacPhee and Tomasz Janowski
Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
“Total coffee junkie. Tv ninja. Unapologetic problem solver. Beer expert.”