Saturday, May 21, 2011

Malaysian landslide buries orphanage children

22 May 2011

Malaysian landslide buries orphanage children

Nine people were rescued from the building, but 16, including 15 children, perished
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Landslides have hit an orphanage near the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, killing 16 people, almost all of them children, officials say.

Rescuers saved nine people from the Hidayah Madrasah al-Taqwa orphanage in the district of Hulu Langat.

The rescue operation, which was hampered by rain, has now ended.

Rescuers used bulldozers, spades and their bare hands to try to reach survivors, and floodlights were brought in after night fell.

A total of 20 children and five adult carers were taking part in an event in a tent at the orphanage - which is located on a slope - when it was hit by two landslides, within seconds of each other, on Saturday afternoon.

District police chief Abdul Rashid Wahab said the bodies of 15 boys, aged between eight and 18 had been recovered. A 34-year-old caretaker at the orphanage was also killed.

Che Rosli Che Mat, an opposition lawmaker, told AFP news agency: "The landslide happened very fast. Only a few children managed to escape."

Opposition politicians told the BBC that many trees had been been cut down in the area, to make way for development schemes.

Police told people in nearby houses to leave the area amid concerns of further landslides.

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