Saturday, June 3, 2023

Search continues for Malaysia campsite as 12 still missing after deadly landslide

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – The search for the remaining 12 campers trapped in a deadly landslide on Friday at an unlicensed campsite in Malaysia continued for a second day, but heavy overnight rain complicated the operation, officials said.

At least 21 people, including five children, were killed after a landslide hit Batang Kali, a popular hill station about 50 km (30 miles) north of Kuala Lumpur, while people were sleeping in their tents.

According to the fire and rescue department, 94 people were trapped in the landslide, but 61 were safe, while 12 are still missing.

Norazam Khamis, head of the Selangor state fire and rescue department, said the search and rescue operation was halted overnight due to heavy rain and resumed at around 8.30am (0030 GMT) on Saturday.

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“We have to be careful as there is a strong flow of water from above and into the soil, complicating the search operation as the ground is soft,” he said.

Norajam told reporters that the 12 missing were unlikely to survive due to lack of oxygen and the weight of the soil.

A preliminary investigation revealed that an embankment containing approximately 450,000 cubic meters of soil had collapsed. The earth fell from an estimated height of 30 m (100 ft) and covered an area of ​​approximately one acre (0.4 ha).

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim told reporters late Friday that the government would provide 10,000 ringgit ($2,261.42) in aid to the families of each person killed in the tragedy, while survivors would receive 1,000 ringgit per family.

Forestry departments in several states ordered the closure of high-risk campsites as well as hiking and off-road driving trails following the disaster.

Landslides are common in Malaysia, but usually only after heavy rains. Flooding is frequent, with torrential rains in seven states last year displacing some 21,000 people.

(Reporting by Mei May Chu; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters,

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