Rescue efforts continue at the site northeast of Kuala Lumpur after the landslide struck in the early hours of the morning.
At least eight people have been confirmed dead in a landslide that buried a campsite northeast of the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur in the early hours of the morning, with search and rescue efforts continuing for more than two dozen people still missing.
Emergency services, including officers from 12 fire stations and civil defence, said they rushed to the scene – in a hilly part of the state of Selangor – after receiving a distress call at 2.24am (18:24 GMT) on Friday.
Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa, who visited the injured in hospital, said the death toll had risen to 13 and rescue efforts were ongoing.
The National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA) earlier saud that 92 people were at the site when the disaster happened.
The landslide struck at the side of the road near an organic farm about 45 minutes northeast of the capital, Kuala Lumpur. The farm operates three camping areas – one by the river, one with a view of the farm and one at the hilltop – and is a popular getaway for families from the city.
Camper Leong Jim Meng told the New Straits Times newspaper that he and his family were asleep when the landslide happened.
“We felt the earth move and the soil came down,” the 57-year-old said, adding that the mud covered their tent but they managed to escape to the car park area where he called the emergency services.
Another camper, 22-year-old Teh Lynn Xuan, told the paper that she was camping on the hilltop site.
She said she and her mother managed to crawl out of their tent even after it was toppled in the landslide, but that one of her brothers had died and the other had been admitted to hospital.
“Everything happened too quickly,” she said.
Kejadian Tanah Runtuh Fathers Organik Farms Gohtong
Pasukan Khas Pertahanan Awam (PASPA) dan APM Hulu Selangor bersama membantu pasukan keselamatan untuk bersama dalam operasi mencari dan menyelamat mangsa tanah runtuh di Fathers Organik Farms Gohtong, Batang Kali, pic.twitter.com/2WmMmBH9lq
— Official Angkatan Pertahanan Awam Malaysia (@APMtwiter) December 16, 2022
[Translation: Landslide at Fathers Organic Farm. Special Civil Defence Team and Civil Defence Hulu Selangor worked with security forces in a search and rescue operation for victims of the landslide at Fathers Organic Farm, Gohtong, Batang Kali]
Pictures shared on social media showed rescue workers searching through piles of mud and fallen trees to find survivors. Eight people were taken to hospital with a variety of injuries, Dr Zaliha told a news conference.
Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said he was “shocked” at the news of the landslide and had been briefed on the rescue efforts. He said some ministers were on the ground, and that he would visit the site later on Friday.
“Let’s pray for the people of Malaysia and hope that this mission goes smoothly,” he said in a statement.
Malaysia is in the midst of the monsoon and experiencing regular downpours.
Landslides are not uncommon in the areas near the capital in the rainy season.
In March, officials in Selangor said they had identified some 150 slopes at high risk of landslides, many of them around the hills to the east of Kuala Lumpur.
A large landslide after 10 days of torrential rain in the same area led to the collapse of a block of apartments at the Highland Towers condominium complex in December 1993. Some 48 people died in the disaster, making it the worst building collapse in Malaysian history.
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