Malaysia: 21 killed, 12 missing as landslide hits campsite in Selangor
By Riyaz ul Khaliq
ISTANBUL, Turkey (AA): At least 21 people were killed, including 5 children, and over a dozen were buried when a landslide swept through a tourist campground outside Malaysia’s capital of Kuala Lumpur in the early hours of Friday morning.
A massive search and rescue operation was launched after a landslide hit the tourists’ campsite at 3 am local time (1900GMT) at the organic farm in Batang Kali in central Selangor state, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) north of Kuala Lumpur, killing at at least 21 people and leaving 17 missing, said an official statement.
Malaysia’s Ministry of Housing and Local Government said on Twitter: “16 people have been confirmed dead while 17 others are still missing.” 94 people were sleeping at the camp.
An estimated 450,000 cubic meters (nearly 16 million cubic feet) of debris — enough to fill 180 Olympic-sized swimming pools — hit the campsite, Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, the natural resources, environment and climate change minister, told local media.
Authorities have halted all outdoor recreational activities near the scene of the fatal incident, Father’s Organic Farm. The victims are said to have entered the popular local recreation area on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has directed that all government units conduct a “thorough and systematic” rescue operation.
“Let’s pray for the people of Malaysia and hope that this mission goes smoothly,” Prime Minister said in a statement.
Malaysian Interior Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail told reporters on the site that all outdoor recreational activities around Batang Kali have been prohibited.
“We will review this (registration status) later,” he said, adding that “Our priority is to find the remaining victims.”
While the authorities were still confirming the total number of people at the site, records available with the campsite owners revealed “94.”
“There was a possibility that the number could change. “(For instance) in a family of five, maybe only the wife registered her name on behalf of the rest,” the minister explained.
Some officials said there is “no sign of any impending landslide as it had not rained heavily in the area for the past two days.”
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