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Landslide in Cameron Highlands claims two lives, three feared buried alive

Two men among five Myanmar nationals lost their lives, and three others are feared buried alive in a tragic landslide in Malaysia’s Cameron Highlands. The discovery of the deceased in the rubble prompted an urgent search and rescue operation under dangerous conditions.

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Cameron Highlands Landslide rescue efforts
(Photo: BERNAMA)

MALAYSIA: A tragic landslide occurred in Malaysia’s Cameron Highlands on the early morning of 26 January, resulting in the death of two men, with three others feared to have been buried alive.

The five victims of the Batu 59, Kampung Raja incident, all Myanmar nationals, were identified as Shing Lan Har (56), Shing Aung (39), Om Myue (38), Haphey (36), and Thang Moung (25), with details provided by Cameron Highlands OCPD Deputy Supt Azri Ramli.

The first casualty, identified as Haphey, was discovered lifeless around 3:00 am. The second male victim was found at 12:05 pm near the original site of a squatter house for workers in the vegetable farm area, approximately 10 meters away.

Efforts to recover their bodies from the rubble were underway, and the situation was deemed dangerous, necessitating restricted media access.

The Pahang Fire and Rescue Department received a distress call at 2:51 am and responded by sending firefighters, who had to trek about 3 km to reach the scene due to the hazardous conditions.

Special tactical operation and rescue teams, including the country’s special tactical operation and rescue team (STORM) unit and a K9 unit, were deployed, along with special forces from Perak, Selangor, and Kuala Lumpur.

Director Datuk Wan Mohammad Zaidi Wan Isa mentioned that all victims, including a woman, were believed to be residing in a house that was buried in the landslide.

The Cameron Highlands area had experienced multiple landslides in recent days, with one on 19 January leading to the temporary closure of a road connecting Habu to the Boh Tea Estate.

Minister acknowledges PWD assistance in non-supervised landslide incident

The landslide incident falls outside the Public Works Department’s (PWD) supervision, according to Works Minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi.

In a Twitter post, he mentioned that while the location isn’t under PWD’s purview, the department will assist in clearing the landslide to facilitate search and rescue operations.

Expressing deep sadness over the incident, Alexander said he received a report from PWD indicating that the landslide affected a house.

Search and rescue operations are actively underway, involving the firemen, police, and the Malaysian Civil Defence Force (APM).

Despite the PWD not overseeing the route and location of the incident, Alexander highlighted their contribution to the operation, particularly in clearing works at the incident area’s entrance.

He assured continued monitoring of the situation and readiness to provide assistance within the department’s capacity.

In a plea for caution, Alexander advised all parties to be careful and adhere to authorities’ instructions for mutual safety.

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