- A landslide tore through the farm camp overnight
- 450,000 cubic meters of soil moved – Minister
- Among the dead were five children, 12 women; 12 people are missing
- Hundreds of people are involved in the search
Padang Galli, Malaysia, Dec. 16 (Reuters) At least 21 people, including children, were killed when a landslide hit an unauthorized camp in Malaysia while they were sleeping in their 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 farming farm that officials said was operating camps illegally.
The Fire and Rescue Department said five children and 12 women were among the victims.
The disaster occurred in Padang Kali, about 50 km (30 mi) north of Kuala Lumpur, 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 couldn’t 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 Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change Minister Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, preliminary investigations indicate that about 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. in days.
Local television footage showed a large landslide on the side of the road through a steep, forested area, while pictures on social media showed thick mud, large trees and other debris climbing over it.
“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,” he told Malay-language daily Perita Harian. “We ran to the parking lot and called the authorities. 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 McPhee and Tomasz Janowski
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