A view of the area in Bukit Antarabangsa hit by this morning's landslide.

A view of the area in Bukit Antarabangsa hit by this morning's landslide.

The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 6 – Four people, including a mother who gave birth just two months ago, have been confirmed dead in a massive landslide early today that has trapped hundreds of residents in Bukit Antarabangsa.

Police also said seven others are missing and 15 injured in the 4am landslide that swept and buried 14 houses in Jalan Bukit Mewah and Jalan Mewah Utama.

In an immediate reaction after visting the disaster site, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the government will not issue any more permits for hillside developments. (See also “Significant landslides in the last four years”)

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Selangor police chief Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar said police will evacuate nearly 5,000 residents from the vicinity of the landslide which has also cut off access from the main road to housing estates in Bukit Antarabangsa.

Rescue officials said 93 residents have been saved from the tonnes of earth, mud and rubble in the landslide believed to be triggered by heavy rains in the Klang Valley in the past few weeks.

The injured and the remains of the dead have been rushed to the Kuala Lumpur Hospital.

Retired businessman Datuk Shaharuddin Adnan found his son’s body in the rubble of his collapsed house by following the ringing of the boy’s mobile phone. The 20-year-old Saiful Khas was still holding the mobile phone when his body was discovered.

The 63-year-old man’s wife and relative who were in the house survived the disaster. Rescue workers could not save his son, he added.

Some 160 personnel from the police, army, Ampang Jaya Municipal Council and medical personnel are involved in the ongoing search and rescue operation.

The landslide happened near the Highland Towers tragedy just five days shy of 15 years ago that killed 48 people when Tower One collapsed.

Meanwhile, Bernama reports that the injured were given first aid at the Addinniah

surau before being sent to hospital. At least 12 ambulances were spotted at the scene.

One of the affected bungalows is owned by Datuk Mohamed Thajudeen Abdul Wahab, the principal private secretary to the prime minister. Thajudeen and his family are safe as they were not at home at the time.

Bukit Antarabangsa assemblyman Azmin Ali said at the scene that earth movements continued to take place and that electricity supply to several housing estates in Bukit Antarabangsa was disrupted.

Eyewitness Hassan Saad said he was watching television in his sitting room at 4am when he heard what sounded like strong wind but when he looked out, the air was still and the trees were not swaying.

He returned to watching the TV but suddenly he heard an explosion like that of a bomb. He ran out of the house and saw the earth sliding down the hillslope and hitting his neighbour’s house in front.

The 48-year-old businessman said he shouted to wake up his family and alert his neighbours to run for their lives. His family of 10, including his mother-in-law and two cousins, managed to run to safety.

Hassan, who has been living there for 15 years, said it was the first time that such a thing had happened in the area.

“Last month, eight trees fell on the hillslope about 20m behind my house and I informed the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council about it.

“They came and chopped the trees. I thought that everything was okay then,” he told reporters at the scene.

Another resident, Lian Wan Jian of Taman Bukit Mewah, said he heard two loud noises and thought that it was an earthquake.

He said he was still awake at that time but his wife and two children were jolted from their sleep by the noises.

When he opened the door to run out, he and his family saw the force of the earth movement lifting the cars and felt his house being pushed towards the neighbour’s house. He and his family, however, managed to run to safety.

“Maybe we were able to save ourselves because our house is at the end (of the row),” he said at the centre for the victims at the Addinniah surau in Taman Bukit Mewah.

Earlier, a man who wanted to be known only as Chong, said his daughter and two-month-old grandchild were buried alive in the landslide while his son was still missing as at 9am.

He said he visited them last night and had gone home at 11pm but was told by a neighbour’s son that his son’s house had been buried in the landslide.

The place was in chaos and hundreds of residents were unable to get out of the area because the only road leading out was jam-packed with bulldozers, fire engines, ambulances and lorries, and the security forces involved in the search and rescue operation.

Residents trying to flee the area also contributed to the traffic congestion.

Meanwhile, the Drainage and Irrigation Department’s Infobanjir website has thus far not listed Bukit Antarabangsa as facing a risk of landslides from either a single rainstorm event or successive days of moderate rain.

The highest rainfall charted by DID for Bukit Antarabangsa was 17mm and 22mm last Wednesday and Thursday respectively. There was relatively no rainfall recorded for Bukit Antarabangsa area since midnight on Friday.

A check with the Meteorological Department shows that rainfall in areas in Selangor remains normal despite the daily evening rainstorms.

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/index.php/malaysia/13816-four-dead-in-bukit-antarabangsa-landslide

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