- A landslide ripped through the farm’s camp overnight
- 450,000 cubic meters of soil were transported – the minister
- Among the dead were 5 children, 12 women; 12 are missing
- Hundreds of people are involved in the search mission
BATANG KALI, Malaysia, Dec 16 (Reuters) – At least 21 people, including children, were killed in a landslide on Friday when they were sleeping in tents at an unlicensed camp in Malaysia. survivors
The landslide occurred at 3 a.m. (1900 GMT) in Selangor state, which borders the capital Kuala Lumpur, and officials said the camp was operating illegally.
According to the fire and rescue department, 5 children and 12 women were among the dead.
The disaster occurred in Batang Kali, about 50 km (30 miles) north of Kuala Lumpur, outside the popular hill area of the Genting Mountains known for its resorts, waterfalls and natural beauty.
The ground fell about 30 meters (100 feet) and covered about an acre (0.4 hectare), according to the state director of the fire and rescue department.
The owners of the farm did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Two of his workers, who are Myanmar nationals, told Reuters they managed to escape with others after being harassed by neighbors moments before the farmhouse was destroyed.
Thawng Uk, 35, said, “I have never seen such a terrible thing. I feel very shocked and horrified.”
“We couldn’t bring anything because we ran so fast… We’re asking where we can find shelter and food.”
His colleague Kung Tuang, 31, said he feared they would lose their jobs now that the farm had been destroyed.
According to the Minister of Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmed, as a result of the preliminary investigation, it was found that about 450 thousand cubic meters of earth dam collapsed.
According to Malaysia’s National Disaster Management Agency, 94 people were trapped in the landslide, but 61 are safe and 12 are missing.
Health Minister Zaliha Mustafa said that 7 people, including a pregnant woman, had various injuries ranging from small cuts to spinal cord injuries.
According to the police, about 400 personnel were involved in the rescue mission.
Three Singaporeans were among those rescued, the Singapore government said in a statement.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong expressed his condolences to his Malaysian counterpart Anwar Ibrahim and assisted in the search and rescue operations.
BUSINESS WITHOUT LICENSE
Pictures posted on the Father’s Organic Farm Facebook page show the farmhouse in a small valley with a large area for pitching tents.
Local Government Development Minister Nga Kor Ming told reporters that its owners were allowed to run organic farms but had not applied for a license to run three camps on the property.
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, adding that he ordered the closure of camps near rivers, hills and other high-risk areas across the country for seven periods. days.
Local television footage showed the aftermath of the massive landslide through a steep, wooded area on the side of the road, while images on social media showed rescuers scrambling over thick mud, large trees and other debris.
Minister Nick Nazmi said on his Twitter page, “I pray that the missing people are found safe and sound soon.”
Selangor is the country’s wealthiest state and has experienced landslides in the past, often linked to forest and land clearing.
Landslides are common in Malaysia, but usually only after heavy rains. Floods occur frequently, about 21,000 people displaced showers in seven states last year.
Camper Leong Jim Meng said he did not expect a landslide as there had only been light drizzle in recent days.
He told Malay-language newspaper Berita Harian: “My family and I were trapped when we covered our tent with soil. “We were able to run to the parking lot and call the authorities. They arrived fairly quickly, about 30 minutes later.”
($1 = 4.4180 ringgit)
Reporting by Rozanna Latiff, Yantoultra Ngui, Hasnoor Hussein, Ebrahim Harris, Angie Teo and Xinghui Kok; Written by Lincoln Feast; Edited by Ed Davies, Martin Petty, Gerry Doyle, Nick Macfie and Tomasz Janowski
Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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