Asia-Pacific

Malaysian landslide buries orphanage children

Media captionNine people were rescued from the building, but 16, including 15 children, perished

Landslides have hit an orphanage near the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, killing 16 people, all but one of them children, officials say.

Rescuers saved nine people from the Hidayah Madrasah al-Taqwa orphanage in the district of Hulu Langat.

The rescue operation, which was hampered by rain, has now ended.

Rescuers used bulldozers, spades and their bare hands to try to reach survivors, and floodlights were brought in after night fell.

A total of 20 children and five adult carers were taking part in an event in a tent at the orphanage - which is located on a slope - when it was hit by two landslides, within seconds of each other, on Saturday afternoon.

District police chief Abdul Rashid Wahab said the bodies of 15 boys, aged between eight and 18 had been recovered. A 34-year-old caretaker at the orphanage was also killed.

Eight hours

Rescuers had to dig through 14 feet (4m) of sludge to find victims, and the last body was retrieved nearly 15 hours after the landslides, Mr Abdul Rashid said.

Those rescued - six boys and three wardens - have been taken to hospital, he added.

In one case, medical staff had to amputate the leg of a boy at the site due to a severe injury, health ministry official Azmi Shapie told AP.

The nine-year-old was said to have been buried for eight hours before his rescue.

Mohamad Hambali Ismail, a warden at the orphanage, told local media how he had had to run for his life.

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

State officials told the BBC that many trees had been been cut down in the area to make way for development schemes.

Police told people in nearby houses to leave the area amid concerns of further landslides.

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