Rescue teams searching for missing campers caught in Friday’s landslide at an unauthorized camping site in Malaysia have recovered the bodies of a woman and a boy, bringing the death toll to 23.
The Landslide in Batang Kalia notoriously mountainous area about 30 miles north of Kuala Lumpur, tore up a camp site while people were sleeping in their tents, killing victims including six children.
Of the 94 people caught in the slide, 61 were safe and 10 are still missing, according to the Selangor State Fire and Rescue Department.
State Fire and Rescue Chief Nourazem Khamis said the search and rescue operations continued for the second day on Saturday after stopping at night due to heavy rains that complicated the operation.
“We have to be careful because there is a strong flow of water from above and into the soil. This complicates the searches because the ground is soft,” he said.
A total of 135 respondents resumed searching through the thick mud and fallen trees around 8.30am with the help of excavators and seven dogs, according to Norazam.
Nourazam told reporters the chances were slim that more of the missing would survive the lack of oxygen and the weight of the mud.
A preliminary investigation showed that a dam of about 588,578 cubic meters of land had collapsed. The ground fell from an estimated height of 100 feet and covered an area of about an acre.
Malaysia’s national disaster management agency said it had identified six victims. The youngest was a 9-year-old boy.
Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim told reporters late on Friday that the government would provide $2,260 in aid to the families of each person killed in the tragedy, while survivors would receive $226 per family.
Several states’ forest departments have ordered the closure of campgrounds, hiking trails, and off-road trails deemed high-risk in the aftermath of the disaster.
Landslides are common In Malaysia, but usually only after heavy rains. Floods happen often, with about 21,000 people displaced last year by heavy rains in seven states.