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15 Die, 40 Missing in Malaysian Landslide

From Associated Press

Rain triggered a landslide that swept flimsy huts into a jungle river in central Malaysia, killing at least 15 people, authorities said Friday.

Forty people, mostly aborigines, were missing and feared dead in Thursday night’s landslide, according to the Bernama news agency.

Dozens of houses were swept into a river near the foothills in a remote jungle area near Kampar, 120 miles northwest of Kuala Lumpur, the capital.

“The mud and water came in a torrent and carried the houses along,” Bernama quoted one survivor as saying.

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About 200 rescuers were searching for survivors Friday.

Weeping women holding children and hundreds of people from nearby villages watched as dogs sniffed around the remains of smashed houses. The area was strewn with tree trunks up to 4 feet thick.

A survivor, Rizam Bah Kupang, told Bernama that he saw a torrent of mud propel a tree trunk into his house moments after he fled with his wife and infant daughter.

Authorities set up relief stations and were bringing in relatives to identify bodies being pulled from the river. Wreckage was swept as far as six miles downstream, damaging a bridge.

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Hospital authorities in Kampar said by telephone that nine people were hospitalized and three others had been treated. Thirteen bodies had been recovered, police said.

Bernama said 30 huts built on a hillside tumbled into the Dipang River.

Survivors told Bernama that they heard a loud rumbling before a flood of mud and water carried away the homes.

Officials said the river, swollen by days of torrential rains, cut away at the hill, triggering the slide of mud, logs and rocks that destroyed part of the village of 1,500 people, mostly aborigines of the Semi tribe.

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