Landslide in Malaysia: The death toll has reached 23

Landslide in Malaysia: The death toll has reached 23
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The death toll from a landslide near the Malaysian capital on Friday has risen to 23, with 10 people still missing, Malaysia’s state media agency Bernama said on Saturday.

Authorities have so far identified six bodies, Bernama reported, citing Malaysia’s National Disaster Management Agency.

A landslide hit Batang Kali in Selangor state, north of the capital Kuala Lumpur, in the early hours of Friday local time, tearing down a mountainside on an organic farm with camping facilities, the state fire and rescue department said.

Teh Lin Xuan, 22, said he was camping with 40 others when the landslide occurred. He said that one of his brothers passed away and the other is in the hospital.

“I heard a loud noise like thunder, but it was rocks flying,” he told Malay-language daily Berita Haria. “We felt that the tents were becoming unstable and soil was falling around us. Fortunately, I was able to get out of the tent and go to a safer place. My mother and I were able to crawl and save ourselves.”

According to the fire and rescue service, more than 90 people were trapped under the landslide.

Selangor Fire and Rescue Department director Datuk Norazam Khamis told Bernama on Friday that the bodies of a woman and a child believed to have been buried alive in a landslide at the camp were found wrapped around each other.

In addition to the dead, 14 people were hospitalized.

Minister of Health Zaliha Mustafa said at a press conference that one of those brought to the hospital is pregnant, and the others have received various injuries, ranging from light cuts to the spine.

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

He told a press conference that about 400 people from several agencies have been dispatched to the ongoing search and rescue efforts.

According to the state director of the fire and rescue department, the landslide fell 30 meters (100 feet) below the camp and covered an area of ‚Äč‚Äčabout an acre (0.4 hectare).

Malaysian officials inspect the damaged area after the landslide.

The slide is shown in Batang Kali on Friday, December 16, 2022.

Local television footage showed the aftermath of the massive landslide through a steep, wooded area on the side of the road, while other images on social media showed rescuers scrambling over thick mud, large trees and other debris.

“Praying that the missing victims are found soon,” Malaysian Minister of Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, one of several ministers who went to the scene, tweeted on Friday morning. “The rescue team has been working since early. I will go there today.”

The disaster happened in Batang Kali, about 50 km (30 miles) north of Kuala Lumpur, just outside the popular hill region of the Genting Mountains, known for its resorts, waterfalls and natural beauty.

Bernama news agency, citing the interior ministry, tweeted that all camps and water recreation areas around Batang Kali have been ordered to close immediately until further notice.

Rescuers appear at the camp on Friday

According to the authorities, at least 12 people died and 8 more people were hospitalized.

Pictures posted on the Father’s Organic Farm Facebook page show the farmhouse in a small valley with a large area for pitching tents.

Selangor is the country’s wealthiest state and has experienced landslides in the past, often linked to forest and land clearing.

The region is in the rainy season, but no heavy rains or earthquakes were recorded overnight.

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