TheSun Online

by Charles Ramendran

KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 10, 2008): The search and rescue operation at the landslide site in Bukit Antarabangsa, Hulu Kelang, was called off today after rescuers found no trace of a maid who is said to be buried in the rubble.

Rescuers had dug into all the main areas of the house, where veterinarian Dr N. Yogeswari was killed saving her children in Saturday’s disaster and also extended the search some 5m around it but failed to find Lourdes Mary.

Selangor police chief DCP Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar said the search for the Sri Lankan maid ceased at 2pm.

He said the intensified search, carried out manually by firemen and SMART personnel since Sunday (Dec 7), was risky as the ground is “uncertain and volatile”. Apart from the maid, there had not been any other reports of missing persons in the area.

Khalid said the area will be cleaned up and a small team of firemen will be alert to signs of human remains during excavation.

Selangor fire and rescue department director Soiman Jahid also said his men dug to the base of Yogeswari’s house, one of 14 bungalows affected, but could not find the missing woman.

Khalid said about 25 houses along Jalan Wangsa 9 which sit on the edge of the hillslope where the landslide took place have been declared a “highly dangerous” zone by Ikram and the Public Works Department. “It is in a bad state and is at risk of collapsing anytime.

The residents have been evacuated but for now we are allowing them to remove their valuables quickly,” he said.

Khalid said the relief centre at the base of the site will continue operating indefinitely to entertain enquiries.

He urged those who had chosen not to leave their houses in areas declared as danger zones to do so for their own safety. “I know it is difficult to leave one’s house but the safety should be priority,” he said.

Khalid said the relief centre at the base of the site will continue operating indefinitely to entertain enquiries.

He also clarified that the makeshift access road paved by the army for residents living on higher ground who were cut off after the landslide is not to be turned into a double lane path as reported.

“It will remain a single lane road and vehicles will move in the switch flow pattern according to a time table. What will be built is a new concrete bridge which will replace the steel one laid by the army over a monsoon drain. This new bridge will also be two lanes,” he said.

The scene at the relief centre yesterday was calmer compared to earlier days. Traffic was well managed and vehicles parked haphazardly were towed and issued summons.