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Deaths in Malaysia orphanage landslide
Police say 16 dead after recovering bodies of 15 boys and 1 adult, last victim pulled out 12 hours after the landslide.
Last Modified: 21 May 2011 19:16

At least sixteen people have been killed in Malaysia after a landslide hit an orphanage, near Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, police said.

Fifteen boys and one adult were killed in the incident that took place at about 2:30pm (0630 GMT) on Saturday in the village of Hulu Langat in central Selangor state, just south of Kuala Lumpur.

The boys were aged 8 to 18 and the adult was a 34-year-old caretaker, district police chief Abdul Rashid Wahab said.

Wahab said the police rescued nine people - six boys and three wardens who have been hospitalised for critical injuries.

The last victim was pulled out more than 12 hours after the deadly landslide hit the orphanage, he added.

Al Jazeera's Divya Gopalan, reporting from Kuala Lumpur, said "about 150 rescue workers from the army, police, firemen had been at the scene including loads of villagers who were standing around trying to see what is going to happen".

"There were dozens of children present in the orphanage when the landslide hit, all younger than 18 years old," Gopalan said.

"Rescuers have to dig using their hands and other equipment because the soil surrounding is very soft due to the rain,'' Abdul Rashid Wahab, district police chief, told the Associated Press news agency.

"The house wasn't damaged but was partly covered in sludge. Several tall trees fell along with the landslide. Several houses near the orphanage have been told to evacuate amid concerns of further landslides."

An officicial said heavy rainfall had likely caused the landslide.

Mohamad Hambali Ismail, a warden at the orphanage, told local media that the children were preparing to receive visitors when the earth shook.

"I heard a loud noise. Suddenly the earth was chasing me. I had to run to save myself," Hambali, told the Malay-language Berita Harian newspaper.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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