- The landslide occurred at the farm camp around 3 am
- Eight are injured and at least 50 people are healthy
- Almost 400 people involved in search and rescue – police
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 16 (Reuters) – A landslide killed at least 12 people as they slept at a campsite in Malaysia early on Friday, officials said, as search teams combed through thick mud and fallen trees for more than There are 20 people who are still missing.
The landslide occurred in Selangor state, on the outskirts of the capital, Kuala Lumpur, at about 3 a.m. (1900 GMT) and collapsed a hillside into an organic farm with camping facilities, the state Fire and Rescue Department said in a statement.
Te Lin Xuan, 22, said he was camping with 40 others when the landslide occurred. He said that one of his brothers had died and the other was hospitalized.
“I heard a loud noise like thunder, but these stones were falling,” he told the Malay-language Brita Haria newspaper. “We felt the tents becoming unstable and dirt falling around us. Fortunately, I was able to leave the tent and go to a safer place. My mother and I managed to crawl out and save ourselves.”
According to the Fire and Rescue Organization, more than 90 people have been trapped in the landslide, and 59 people are safe and 22 people are still missing.
In addition to the 12 dead, eight people were hospitalized.
Health Minister Zaliha Mustafa told a news conference that one of those taken to the hospital was pregnant, while the others had injuries ranging from minor cuts to suspected spinal injuries.
District police chief Sufyan Abdullah said the dead were all Malaysians, including a child aged about 5.
Almost 400 people from multiple agencies have been deployed and search and rescue efforts are ongoing, he said at a news conference.
The landslide came down from an estimated height of 30 meters (100 feet) above the campsite and covered an area of about an acre (0.4 hectares), according to the director of fire and rescue operations.
Local television footage showed the aftermath of a large landslide in a steep, forested area by the side of the road, while other images on social media showed rescuers climbing through thick mud, large trees and other debris.
“I pray that the missing victims are found safe and sound soon,” tweeted Malaysian Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change Minister Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, one of several ministers heading to the scene on Friday morning. . “The rescue team has been working since earlier. I’m going there today.”
The disaster happened about 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of Kuala Lumpur in the town of Batang Kali, just outside the popular Genting hilltop area, an area known for its resorts, waterfalls and natural beauty.
Bernama news agency quoted the Minister of Home Affairs in a tweet announcing that all camping and water recreation areas around Batang Kali have been ordered to close immediately until further notice.
Pictures posted on Dad’s Organic Farm Facebook page show a farmhouse in a small valley, with a large area where tents can be pitched.
Selangor is the richest state in the country and has already experienced landslides, often attributed to forest and land clearing.
The area is in its rainy season, but no heavy rains or earthquakes were recorded during the night.
A year ago, about 21,000 people in seven states across the country were displaced by floods caused by torrential rains.
Reporting by Rozanna Latif, Angie Teo, Yantoltra Ngoi and Hasanur Hussain; By Lincoln Fast; Edited by Ed Davis and Gary Doyle
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