KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 26 — The landslide at the Father’s Organic Farm in Batang Kali, near here, on Dec 16 is Malaysia’s second worst disaster in terms of fatalities, after the Highland Towers condominium collapse in 1993 which claimed 48 lives, according to the Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (SMART).

Thirty-one people were killed in the 2.30 am landslide but 61 survived after tonnes of earth came crashing down on the farm campsite.

Eighteen of those killed were adults and 13 were children, with 20 bodies recovered from sector A, one from sector B and 10 from sector C.

SMART commander Mohd Khairul Jamil said he was shocked by the number of victims in the landslide when they received an emergency call in the wee hours of that day.

“In previous landslides, only three or four people were involved, and when told that about 100 victims were involved this time I was shocked.

“I then ordered a team of 10 personnel led by SMART Heavy USAR sector head Mohamad Hafiezul Abdul Halim to go to the incident location. This Batang Kali incident is the second biggest in terms of the number of victims who perished, after Highland Towers,” he said on Bernama TV’s “Rancangan Apa Khabar Malaysia” programme today.

Meanwhile, Mohamad Hafiezul said his team’s task at the incident location was to give assistance in terms of expertise and advice to ensure search and rescue (SAR) works could be carried out more effectively.

He said among the equipment carried by his team on the first day of the incident were structural movement sensors used in monitoring earth movements which could endanger the lives of rescuers.

“Our team, among other things, was tasked with giving advice regarding the use of heavy machineries in the area covered with sand and debris of about 20 metres deep,” he added.

On preparations to tackle floods, Mohd Khairul said two SMART teams had been dispatched to help related agencies in Terengganu and Kelantan.

He said among the assets carried by the SMART teams to these two states were boats, lorries and equipment used in the evacuation of flood victims.

“Alhamdulillah the teams deployed have been discharging their duties excellently to help other government agencies in rescuing victims,” he said.


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