Malaysia landslide death toll hits 21, with 12 still missing


The search for the remaining 12 campers caught in Friday’s deadly landslide at an unlicensed campsite in Malaysia continued for a second day after an overnight halt due to bad weather, officials said.

At least 21 people, including five children, were killed after a landslide in Batang Kali, a popular hilly area about 50 kilometres north of Kuala Lumpur, tore down while people slept in their tents.

There were 94 people caught in the landslide but 61 were safe, with 12 still missing, according to the Malaysia National  Disaster Management Agency. Search and rescue operations were suspended around midnight Saturday local time due to unfavourable weather and resumed at 7 a.m., the fire and rescue department said.

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim told reporters late on Friday the government would provide 10,000 ringgit (about $3,100 Cdn) in aid to families of every person killed in the tragedy, while survivors would receive a tenth of that per household.

A road is shown adjacent to a hillside that has broken away due to a landslide.
The landslide tore down a hillside into an organic farm with camping facilities. (Lai Seng Sin/Reuters)

An initial investigation showed an embankment of about 450,000 cubic metres of earth had collapsed. The earth fell from an estimated height of 30 metres and covered almost half a hectare.

The Forestry Department in several states ordered the closure of campsites considered as high risk, as well as hiking and off-road driving trails following the disaster. Landslides are common in Malaysia, but typically only after heavy rains.

Flooding occurs often, with about 21,000 people displaced last year by torrential rain in seven states.

A map showing the location of the mudslide.

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