The bodies of a woman and a boy have been recovered by rescue teams searching for missing campers trapped in Friday’s landslide at an unlicensed campsite in Malaysia, raising the death toll to 23.
landslide in batang kaliA popular mountain resort about 30 miles north of Kuala Lumpur ripped through the camp while people were sleeping in their tents, killing victims including six children.
According to the Selangor State Fire and Rescue Department, of the 94 people trapped in the slide, 61 were safe and 10 are still missing.
State fire and rescue chief Norazam Khamis said search and rescue operations continued for a second day on Saturday after being halted overnight due to heavy rain.
“We have to be careful as there is a strong flow of water from above and into the soil. This complicates the search operation as the ground is soft,” he said.
According to Norazam, a total of 135 responders with the help of diggers and seven dogs started digging through thick soil and fallen trees around 8.30 am.
Norajam told reporters that the chances of survival for the missing were slim due to lack of oxygen and the weight of the mud.
A preliminary investigation revealed that an embankment of about 588,578 cubic meters of soil had collapsed. The earth fell from an approximate height of 100 feet and covered an area of about an acre.
Malaysia’s National Disaster Management Agency said they had identified six victims. The youngest was a 9 year old boy.
Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim told reporters late Friday that the government would provide $2,260 in aid to the families of each person killed in the tragedy, while survivors would receive $226 per family.
Forest departments in several states ordered the closure of camping sites and hiking and off-road trails considered high risk after the disaster.
landslides are common in Malaysia, but usually only after heavy rains. Flooding is frequent, with torrential rains in seven states last year displacing some 21,000 people.