Malaysia landslide: 19 dead and more than 14 missing near Genting Highlands

A landslide killed at least 19 people early Friday while they slept at a campsite in Malaysia, state media reported, citing the Selangor Fire Department, as search teams combed through thick mud and downed trees after 14 people were still missing.

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

Teh Lynn Xuan, 22, said she was camping with 40 others when the landslide struck. She said one of her brothers died while another was in the hospital.

“I heard a loud sound like thunder, but it was the stones that were falling,” she told Malaysian daily Berita Haria. “We felt like the tents were becoming unstable and earth was falling around us. Luckily I was able to leave the tent and go to a safer place. My mother and I managed to crawl out and save ourselves.”

More than 90 people were involved in the landslide and 59 were found safe with 14 still missing, according to fire and rescue services.

The bodies of a woman and a child believed to have been buried alive by the landslide at a campsite were found embracing, Datuk Norazam Khamis, director of the Selangor Fire and Rescue Department, Bernama said on Friday.

In addition to the 19 dead, 14 were hospitalized, it said.

One of those taken to hospital was pregnant, while others had injuries ranging from minor lacerations to a suspected spinal injury, Health Minister Zaliha Mustafa told a news conference.

District police chief Suffian Abdullah said the dead were all Malaysians, including a child around five years old.

Nearly 400 people from multiple agencies have been deployed and search and rescue efforts are underway, he told a news conference.

The landslide came down from an estimated height of 30 meters (100 feet) above the campground and covered an area of ​​about one acre (0.4 hectares), according to the state director of the Fire and Rescue Department.

Malaysian authorities are inspecting the site damaged after the landslide.

The landslide will be shown in Batang Kali on Friday December 16, 2022.

Footage from local television showed the aftermath of a large landslide through a steep, wooded area next to a road, while other images on social media showed rescue workers scrambling over thick mud, large trees and other debris.

I pray that the missing victims can be found safely soon,” Malaysian Minister for Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad tweeted Friday morning, one of several ministers who made the journey to the scene. “The rescue team worked from the start. That’s where I’m going today.”

The disaster happened about 50 km (30 miles) north of Kuala Lumpur in the town of Batang Kali, just outside the popular hilly area of ​​Genting Highlands, an area known for its resorts, waterfalls and natural beauty.

Bernama news agency tweeted that all campsites and water recreation areas around Batang Kali had been ordered to close immediately until further notice, citing the Interior Minister.

Rescue workers are seen at the campsite on Friday

At least 12 people were killed and another eight were hospitalized, authorities said.

Pictures posted to the Father’s Organic Farm Facebook page show a farmhouse in a small valley, with a large area for tents to be set up.

Selangor is the wealthiest state in the country and has suffered from landslides in the past, often attributed to forest and land clearance.

The region is in the rainy season, but neither heavy rains nor earthquakes were recorded overnight.

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