February 4, 2023

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Death toll in Malaysia landslide rises to 21


December 17, 2022 | 11:30 a.m

BATANG KALI, Malaysia — Rescue workers scoured muddy terrain for survivors and bodies on Saturday as the death toll from a landslide at a Malaysian campsite rose to 21, including five children, authorities said.

A dozen people were still missing after a dawn landslide hit an organic farm campsite near the town of Batang Kali, just outside the capital Kuala Lumpur, on Friday.

Officials said more than 90 people were at the campsite near a mountain casino resort, most of whom were asleep when the landslide struck.

Authorities said 61 people were safe or rescued.

Two of the victims are believed to be “a mother and her child buried underground in a state of embrace,” Norazam Khamis, director of the Selangor State Fire and Rescue Department, told reporters on Friday.

The farm was not licensed to operate a campground and its operators would be fined if found to have broken the law, authorities said.

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim visited the area late Friday and said financial aid would be given to the families of those killed or injured in the disaster.

Selangor State Premier Amirudin Shari tweeted that all picnic and camping sites in the state would be closed for a week.

Landslides are common in Malaysia after heavy rains, which regularly occur at the end of the year, and can occur after severe weather.

However, no heavy rains were recorded in the region on the night of the disaster.

The government has issued strict rules for slope development.

In March, four people died in a Kuala Lumpur suburb after a massive landslide triggered by torrential rain buried their homes.

In one of the deadliest such incidents, a huge mudslide caused by heavy rain in 1993 caused a 12-story apartment building outside the capital to collapse, killing 48 people.