Malaysia landslide kills 12 at campsite, more than 20 missing

  • The landslide occurred at the farm campsite around 3 am
  • Eight people were injured and at least 50 others were rescued
  • About 400 people are involved in search and rescue operations – police

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 16 (Reuters) – At least 12 people were killed in a landslide early on Friday while they were sleeping at a campsite in Malaysia.

The landslide in Selangor state, on the outskirts of the capital Kuala Lumpur, occurred around 3 a.m. (1900 GMT), tearing down a hillside into an organic farm with camping facilities, the state Fire and Rescue Department said in a statement.

Teh Lin Xuan, 22, said she was camping with 40 other people when the landslide hit. She said one of her brothers had died and the other was in hospital.

“I heard a loud sound like thunder, but the rocks were falling,” she told Malay-language daily Berita Hariya. “We could feel the tents becoming unstable and the soil falling around us. Fortunately, I was able to leave the tent and go to a safer place. My mother and I crawled and saved ourselves.”

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More than 90 people were trapped in the landslide, 59 were found safe and 22 were missing, the Fire and Rescue Department said.

In addition to the 12 dead, eight people were admitted to the hospital.

Health Minister Saliha Mustafa said in a press conference that one of the people brought to the hospital was pregnant and the others were suspected to have suffered from minor injuries to spinal injuries.

District police chief Sufian Abdullah said the dead were all Malaysians, including a five-year-old child.

He told a press conference that around 400 personnel from various agencies have been deployed and search and rescue operations are on.

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The state director of the fire and rescue department said the landslide started 30 meters (100 feet) above the campsite and spread over an area of ​​about an acre (0.4 hectare).

Footage from local television showed the aftermath of a large landslide through a steep forested area beside the road, while other images on social media showed rescuers clambering over thick mud, large trees and other debris.

Reuters Graphics

“I pray that the missing victims are found safely soon,” Malaysia’s Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change Minister Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad tweeted Friday morning, one of several ministers heading to the scene. “The rescue team has been working since earlier. I’m going down there today.”

The disaster occurred about 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of Kuala Lumpur in the popular hilltop town of Batang Kali in the Genting Highlands, an area known for its resorts, waterfalls and natural beauty.

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News agency Bernama tweeted, quoting the Home Minister, that all campsites and water recreation areas around Batang Kali have been ordered to be closed immediately until further notice.

Pictures posted on the Father’s Organic Farm Facebook page show a farmhouse in a small valley where tents can be set up.

Selangor, the richest state in the country, has experienced landslides before, often due to forest and land clearing.

The region is in its rainy season, but no heavy rains or earthquakes have been recorded overnight.

A year ago, 21,000 people were displaced due to flash floods in seven states of the country.

Reporting by Rosanna Latif, Angie Teo, Yantoultra Ngui and Hasnur Hussain; Written by Lincoln Fest; Editing by Ed Davies and Gerry Doyle

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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