A landslide which destroyed an orphanage in Malaysia on Saturday has claimed more lives.
Immediately after the landslide two children were found dead, and six were found with injuries. 21 were still missing. Yesterday officials announced that the death toll has risen to 16, 15 children from the orphanage and 1 adult. 6 boys and 3 wardens have been hospitalized with serious injuries.
Fox News has reported that one child had to have his leg amputated to be freed from the wreckage, after suffering a wound causing incessant bleeding.
Rescue attempts by 200 people including firefighters and policemen were hampered by heavy rainfall.
“Rescuers have to dig through 14 feet of sludge with their hands and equipment, because the soil surrounding is too soft due to the rain.”
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has ordered a probe into the landslide, while other officials try to find out who was responsible for the orphanage. It is believed to have been built without permission, along an 80 degree hill slope.
The Prime Minister has also promised ‘all help possible’ to the 10 survivors. Plans are being made to rebuild the orphanage, and the survivors have been offered counselling. Many are very traumitized.
Channel News Asia spoke to a 13 year old boy who had survived, but whose 10 year old brother did not.
“He was washing flower pots right next to the slope when the incident happened. There’s not a chance for him to escape.”
Some houses close to the orphanage suffered damage during the landslides, and nearby trees were felled. Surrounding houses have now been evacuated, until their safety is confirmed.