12 killed, more than 20 missing in Malaysia landslide camp Reuters

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By Rozanna Latiff and Yantoultra Ngui

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – At least 12 people were killed and more than 20 others missing after a landslide ripped through a camp in Malaysia early on Friday while they were sleeping, officials said, as search teams scoured thick mud and trees.

The landslide occurred around 3 a.m. (1900 GMT) in Selangor state, a suburb of the capital Kuala Lumpur, tearing down a hillside at a nature farm with camping facilities, the state Fire and Rescue Department said in a statement.

Teh Lynn Xuan, 22, said she was camping with 40 people when the landslide hit. He said one of his brothers had died and the other was in hospital.

“I heard a loud noise like thunder, but it was rocks falling,” he told Malay-language daily Perida Hariya. “We felt the tents becoming unstable and mud falling around us. Luckily, we managed to get out of the tent and get to a safer place. My mother and I crawled to save ourselves.”

More than 90 people were trapped in the landslide, 59 people have been rescued safely and 22 people are missing, according to the Fire and Rescue Department.

Apart from the 12 dead, eight have been hospitalized.

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

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

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 a height of 30 meters (100 feet) above the camp site and covered an area of ​​about an acre (0.4 hectare), the state director of fire and rescue said.

Footage from local television showed the aftermath of a large landslide through a steep, forested area near the road, while other images on social media showed thick mud, large trees and other debris climbing over it.

“I pray that the missing people can be found safely soon,” Malaysian Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change Minister Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad tweeted on Friday morning, one of several ministers heading to the scene. “The rescue team has been working since early morning. I’m going down there today.”

The disaster occurred in the town of Padang Kali, 50km (30 miles) north of Kuala Lumpur, just outside the popular highlands of Genting Highlands, known for its resorts, waterfalls and natural beauty.

News agency Bernama tweeted that all campsites and water recreation areas around Padang Galli have been ordered to close immediately until further notice, citing the Home Minister.

Pictures posted on the Father’s Organic Farm Facebook (NASDAQ: ) page show a farmhouse in a small valley where tents can be pitched.

Selangor is the most affluent state in the country and has experienced landslides before, mostly due to forest and land clearance.

The region has a rainy season, but no heavy rains or earthquakes have been reported overnight.

A year ago, around 21,000 people were displaced due to floods caused by heavy rains in seven states across the country.


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