BUKIT ANTARABANGSA TRAGEDY: Massive landslide hits two housing estates
KUALA LUMPUR: At least four people were killed while another was listed as missing after a massive landslide hit two housing estates in Bukit Antarabangsa early yesterday.
|Datuk Shaharudin Adnan being given first aid treatment." width="200" border="1" height="154">|
|Datuk Shaharudin Adnan being given first aid treatment.|
|Residents looking at the damage wrought by the landslide.|
This was the 12th. major landslide to hit the Ampang hillside since the Highland Towers tragedy in 1993 which claimed 48 lives.
Yesterday's incident claimed the lives of veterinarian N. Yogeswary, 40, her maid Surina, 30, accountant Ng Yee Peng, 30 and 20-year-old college student Shaiful Khaz Shaharudin.
Police said another adult was listed as missing. They have the identity of the missing victim but will not release the name until he is found.
The landslide, which struck at 4am, swept away 14 bungalows in Taman Bukit Utama and Taman Bukit Mewah.
The danger, however, is not over as authorities said there was still soil movement, and as a precaution have evacuated between 4,000 and 5,000 residents from nearby areas and a condominium unit.
One of the affected homes belonged to the prime minister's principal private secretary, Datuk Mohamed Thajudeen Abdul Wahab, who was away with his family at the time of the incident.
This latest episode has raised questions yet again on whether this exclusive residential area has now turned into a permanent deathtrap.
Some five hours after the incident, rescuers began evacuating thousands of residents from nearby condominiums.
Using a temporary bridge built by the army engineering corp, the residents crossed a monsoon drain and were taken to nearby shelters.
There were many angry residents and they lashed out in frustration against the state and local authorities for continuing to approve residential hill slope projects in the area.
A 43-year-old resident, who only wanted to be known as Zul, said: "They keep on developing when they know this area can't cope any more."
Bukit Antarabangsa Residents Association officials told the New Straits Times that the incident was a disaster waiting to happen, with one official blaming an ongoing three-storey bungalow project at the top of the hill as a possible cause of the incident.
The authorities are blaming it on an abandoned housing project located on higher ground.
There were also questions why a geological firm, awarded a RM1.6 million contract to "solely monitor the geological conditions" in the Bukit Antarabangsa area, including earth movements, had failed to anticipate the incident.
Residents association deputy chairman Raymond Jagathesan said there were telltale signs after a landslide cut off a portion of the Jalan Bukit Antarabangsa main road just six days earlier.
"That landslide happened in the wee hours but the authorities quickly cleaned up the area in a few hours."
The two other Klang Valley landslides within the past week occurred in Ulu Yam and Jalan Semantan in Damansara.
On Nov 30, sisters Noratirah Roslan, 16, and Nurul Intan Sarina, 9, were killed when a landslide buried their bungalow home in Ulu Yam Perdana.
Last Thursday, a landslide in Jalan Semantan caused part of the retaining wall of a car park situated between two buildings to collapse, damaging 11 vehicles.
The search and rescue operation involved personnel from the military, Civil Defence Department, Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue (Smart) Team, Fire and Rescue Department and Ampang Jaya Municipal Council.
With this tragedy, not only the lost of lives occurred but properties worth millions were lost and ruined. What is most important, the environment has been disturbed in a massive way over a long period of time, because of these surely but slowly what had happened is what we see today. Knowing that the area is hilly and it is a water catchment area why has these development been allowed. As reported above this is the 12th. major landslide in the area since the first, 15 years ago.
In my first post, I mentioned that the world is sick. I still hold that "man build and man destroy" Why, who, when, how and how much? These are the questions that we need to scrutinise and find the answers in relation to the "sickness". Your views and thoughts are welcomed.