Malaysia landslide: At least 19 campers dead and more missing

At least 19 people including children have been killed after a landslide hit a holiday campsite in Malaysia’s Selangor state.

Families were sleeping in their tents when the landslide happened around 03:00 Friday (19:00 GMT Thursday) at a farm stay in Batang Kali township.

Hundreds of rescuers spent Friday digging through mud to find survivors.

The farm’s managers said at least 30 children and 51 adults were registered for an overnight stay.

Local media reported that Malaysian authorities said fourteen people were still missing, and that about 700 officials are involved in the search and rescue.

The Malaysian fire department said at lest four children were among the dead.

More than 20 primary school teachers and their family members were there, according to a New Straits Times report.

Local Government Development Minister Nga Kor Ming reported that the camping site had been operating illegally

Mr Nga also said he ordered all “high-risk” camping sites – those located along rivers, waterfalls and hillsides – across the country to be closed for seven days with immediate effect.

It’s unclear what triggered the landslide, which happened in a forested hilly area next to the side of the road in Batang Kali, close to the Genting Highland region.

Locals reported some light rain, but no heavy downpours or any earthquakes in the lead up to it. However, monsoon season is currently underway in Malaysia.

The landslide began up a slope more than 30m (100ft) higher than the campsite, and rolled through an acre of land.

Pictures posted online by Malaysia’s rescue agencies showed crews of helmeted workers clambering up uneven ground, past uprooted trees and other debris.

One camper, Teh Lynn Xuan, said she and her mother had survived, but her brother had died and another brother had been taken to hospital with injuries.

“We felt the tents becoming unstable and soil was falling around us,” she told Malaysian newspaper Berita Harian.

“My mother and I managed to crawl out and save ourselves.”

She had been camping with a big group of more than 40 people, she said.

Another survivor, Leong Jim Meng, said he heard an explosion before the ground began to shift.

That had woken him and his family, who were briefly trapped in their tents by debris before managing to get out.

“It was too dark to see clearly what was happening,” he said.

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim was due to arrive at the site later on Friday, following visits from several other government ministers.

He offered condolences to the victims and prayers for more survivors on his Facebook page.

Source: The BBC News

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