Camerons landslide: Rescuers only using hoes and shovels, heavy machinery unable to access site

CAMERON HIGHLANDS: Heavy machinery is still unable to enter the landslide disaster area here and the search operation for three remaining victims can only be done manually for now, says police.

Cameron Highlands district police chief Deputy Supt Azri Ramli said the SAR team conducted a search at the site in Kg Raja, Blue Valley here using equipment like hoes and shovels until an alternative route for the heavy machinery is found.

“The search will continue until 10pm, depending on weather conditions,” he said in a press conference near the site on Friday (Jan 26).

Pahang Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department operations assistant director Ismail Abdul Ghani was also present.

Meanwhile, Azri said the SAR team, including the Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (SMART), had the required equipment to continue the search, including lighting.

Earlier, the bodies of two out of five victims were found and taken out of the rubble.

Azri also confirmed that three of the victims were related, namely a husband and wife and the husband’s father.

He also said some of the victims were UNHCR card holders and all of them were Myanmar nationals employed at nearby vegetable farms.

Meanwhile, Ismail said 84 SAR members were conducting the operation, with total manpower of 217.

“We are also assisted by 30 vegetable farmworkers in addition to the SMART unit and two K9 (tracking dogs),” he said.

Ismail said the K9 unit also found some evidence of victims in sector C of the search area.

In the incident at about 2.40am on Friday, five Myanmar nationals, including a woman, were feared dead after two houses were buried in a landslide.

They were identified as Shing Lan Har, 56; Shing Aung, 39; Om Myue, 38; Haphey, 36; and Thang Moung, 25. – Bernama