Saturday, 6 December 2008

Landslide tragedy at Bt Antarabangsa: 4 killed, one missing - Malaysiakini (updated)

Update: PM: 'Enough is enough, stop the hillside projects' (read here)
No more permits for hillside projects: Najib (read here )
Be prepared for more landslides, warns environmentalist (read here )

Got the report from Malaysiakini

Dec 6, 08 8:41am (updated 8.30pm)

A massive landslide at 4 this morning buried 14 bungalows in Taman Bukit Mewah and Taman Bukit Utama in Bukit Antarabangsa, Selangor.

Four bodies have been recovered with one person still feared buried as at 8.30pm.

Three of the four who perished have been identified as veterinarian Dr N Yogeswary, 40, accountant Ng Yee Ping and Saiful Khas, 20. An Indonesian woman was pulled out of the rubble at around 7.30pm. Her identity has not been confirmed.

Those who were reported missing earlier have contacted the police, according to Selangor Chief Police Officer Khalid Abu Bakar.

The remains and some 15 others who were injured have been rushed to the Kuala Lumpur Hospital.

Khalid said tonight that the search and rescue operation will continue for 24 hours a day unless the rain gets too heavy. He revealed that about 100 people have been rescued the site.

Earlier reports: The landslide has cut off the access road to the residential area, trapping hundreds of people at Bukit Antarabangsa in Hulu Klang.

Azmin Ali, the state rep for Bukit Antarabangsa told Malaysiakini over the phone that rescuers are now fighting against time to reach those trapped under the mud and rubble.

He said earth movement continued to take place and that electricity supply to several housing estates in Bukit Antarabangsa was disrupted.

The politician said he rushed over to the scene at 4.30am soon after he received word of the landslide.

Selangor police chief Khalid Abu Bakar who was at the scene to direct rescue efforts told reporters that a total of 3,000 to 5,000 residents in the vicinity of the landslide have to be evacuated.

According to Bernama, a total of 160 police, army, Ampang Jaya City Council (MPAJ) and medical personnel are involved in the search and rescue operation. More than 10 ambulances were spotted at the scene.

The news agency also reported that one of the affected bungalows is owned by Mohamed Thajudeen Abdul Wahab, the principal private secretary to the prime minister.

Thajudeen and his family are safe. They were not at home at the time of the incident.

Eyewitness accounts

An eyewitness, businessman Hassan Saad, 48, told Bernama that 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 a bomb-like explosion. He ran out of the house and saw earth sliding down the hillslope, hitting his neighbour's house in front.

Hassan said he shouted to wake up his family and alerted his neighbours to run for their lives. His family of 10, including his mother-in-law and two cousins, managed to run to safety.

Meanwhile, 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 landslide happened near the Highland Towers tragedy almost 15 years ago that killed 48 people when Tower One collapsed.

Also read 4 terbunuh, tanah runtuh di Bukit Antarabangsa - Malaysiakini ,Duniatiger's entry Tanah Runtuh di Bt Antarabangsa here , the Star's Massive landslide at Bt Antarabangsa and Personal account from ground zero .

Picture: (courtesy of the Star) One of the bungalows hit by the Bukit Antarabangsa landslide. More pics here .


Anonymous said...

This is so typical of the powers-that-be. It takes a few tragedies and losss of lives to wake-them up and take the appropriate measures.

I thought I read a report in the Star some months back that a group of residents in U Kay Heigths had staged ademonstration against an upcoming project to build 164 bungalows and 410 10-storey shoplots on top of a hill near their area.

The residents said that they are afraid the new project, if approved, will lead to another landslide tragedy like Highland Towers some 15 years ago.

If this new development is approved, there is most certainly going to be a landslide and it is going to come tumbling down over 50 houses, one resident said.

I wonder if the area where the landslide occurred is the same one that the residents had referred to.

So prophetic if it is because such a tragedy could have been averted.

Unfortunately their pleas had fallen on deaf ears.

My condolence to the families who have lost their loved ones. Let's pray for the safety of the rest who are still missing

Anonymous said...

"Unfortunately their pleas had fallen on deaf ears."

I agree with concerned citizen.

Experts have blamed the previous two major landslides in Hulu Kelang to land disturbances that resulted in soil and slope instability. The area has severe soil erosion.

The soil where the Taman Hillview and the Highland Towers landslides occurred, are of residual granite overlying the parent granite rock mass, engineer Datuk Dr Ramli Mohamad was quoted as saying in the New Straits Times on Dec 1, 2002.

Head of Universiti Teknologi Mara’s National Soil Erosion Research Centre (Nasec), Prof Roslan Zainal Abidin, had said that a minimum rainfall of 44.6mm, continuously over three days in an area with high-risk ratings, could trigger a landslide.

Finally the DPM said no more hillside projects will be approved.

Yes, after the loss of so many innocent lives.

Anonymous said...

Please visit Block B at Lake View Apartment, Pandan Perdana. Kuala Lumpur. Just walk up the stairs and look at the cracks, be it on the walls or on the floor! If this building collapses one day, who will take up this responsibility of people dead/injured? The Irresponsible Developer? MPAJ? The YB? WHO???

Until this day, I am yet to get an answer. I have also written to MPAJ, Exco of Land & YB for my area. It seems to me that the person who is having the last laugh is the developer. I am sure they will still drive to work with their Mercedes it they do decide on settling this issue.

I just cannot understand what is the "FORCE" behind this rational - A government officer who can make the right decision to help the people who are victims of irresponsible developers but instead prefer to take another cause of action

Why protect the irresponsible developer party when they can do the alternative?

Anyone who are victims of abusive developers, please tell us your story


Anonymous said...

He also told developers not to lobby or pressure the Government for any building permits for hillside development projects.

He said preventive measures must be taken to avoid hillside tragedies.


How many times have we heard these same people spew out the same bullshit every time a tragedy strikes?

It all boils down to this "tidak apa" attitude and rampant corruptions among those in position of power and greedy developers.

Anonymous said...

Couldnt agree more with all the comentators above.

Had the policy-makers and powers-that-be listened and taken heed of the advice of th experts and learnt the lessson of the Highland Towers dissater,the tragedy could be have been avoided and lives saved.

After the Highland tower disaster, the government announced a ban on hillside development.

And today the PM said enough is enough & announced another ban on hillside development following the landslide tragedy early this morning.

What good is the announcement when no serious action has been taken in the past to ensure that the policy is adhered to & when you have corrupt officials and developers out to make money without any concern for public safety?

puteri said...

Takziah kepada keluarga yang malang.

Anonymous said...

We've heard this before...government leaders responding with promises to ensure more stringent regulations.

But today's tragedy is a grim reminder that promises made in the past have never been kept.

orang lama said...

I'm sick and tired of listening to the same BULLSHIT uttered by politcians everytime a tragedy occurs.

"What good is the announcement ...when you have corrupt officials and developers out to make money without any concern for public safety?"

Spoton! The bottom line is greed & money!

Anonymous said...

This what happens when corrupt officials and greedy developers work hand-in-glove raping hillsides all in the name of development.

I remember reading somewhere that Bukit Mas residents in Taman Melawati protested against the proposed development to build a block of seven-storey apartments and a block of six-storey town villas on the slope near the area.

They wrote to DBKL and the Federal Territories Ministry.

And what was the reply?

The Minister of Federal Territory said that the project has already been approved and the necessary measures would be taken to ensure

Here’s my middle finger up yours Minister!

Yeah, see what happened? Don't they ever learn... at all?

Anonymous said...

I am not too surprised by the landsclide's a "standard yearly occurance" during rainy season in Malaysia.

Give it a month or two, and things will be back in business as usual.

Starmandala said...

Better kill your children than allow them to grow up into unscrupulous & environemntally destructive devilopers like Ting Pek Khiing & others of his ilk who ought to be thrown in jail instead of being made Latoks & Tan Slees. Cari makan, my foot. How much can anyone eat - reminds me of that fat guy in the Monty Python movie 'Meaning of Life' who explodes in a restaurant from having food shoveled into his mouth.

Anonymous said...

Hi guys read this. Doesnt this make you boiling mad?

Landslide Victim Claims To Have Made Reports But They Were Taken Lightly

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 7 (Bernama) -- A victim of the Bukit Antarabangsa landslide claimed that he had notified the relevant authorities about fallen trees and earth movements close to his home in Taman Bukit Mewah in October but his complaints were not taken seriously.

Businessman Hassan Saad, 49, said on Oct 21 and 22, he had forwarded his complaints about the two incidents of fallen trees behind his house to the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ) and the local elected representative but was told not to worry.

"They sent people to check on my complaints and then a soil expert to study the soil situation but the expert said there was no problem.

"But I thought there were earth movements as one by one the trees fell and in alternate directions, which could possibly cause a landslide. But I was disappointed that my complaints (through SMS and phone calls) were not taken seriously," he told Bernama Sunday.

"If the authorities had taken the proper measures, the residents would have been prepared for an eventuality.

"In a landslide, our homes will be damaged but at least lives could have been saved. I am not a soil expert but as one of the bungalow owners, I had the right to raise my concerns with the authorities."

Hassan said in the jolting incident at 4am on Saturday, he and his nine family members managed to dash off with just the clothes on their backs.

He said with the first explosion heard, his house did not shake and the situation outside appeared calm but with the second explosion, he suspected something bad was going to happen and woke up his family members, including his mother-in-law.

"When we gathered outside, we saw that some houses had been destroyed and we fled from our home barefooted," he further recalled.

Hassan and his family are now staying with relatives and although his bungalow is still standing, he believes it is no longer safe and it is a matter of time that it will collapse...

Menanti pasti said...