Batang Kali landslide: Search and rescue operation impacts personnel deeply

BATANG KALI: The recently-ended search and rescue operation at Father’s Organic Farm in Gohtong Jaya has left a profound effect on the members of the rescuing team.

Hulu Selangor Fire and Rescue Department head Ahmadi Muhamad Hasan said apart from from the physical exertion, the emotion of personnel was also affected during the nine-day SAR operation.

Recalling the efforts to search for victims of the tragedy, he said the soft earth and rainy weather also hampered movements and demanded the perseverance of rescuers.

"It cannot be denied that the emotion of the team at ground zero is sometimes severely challenged when they failed to find any victim or new indications on their whereabouts submerged under the landslide earth,” he told Bernama at the Incident Post here today.

Ahmadi said the rescuers were given mental therapy and words of encouragement to raise their morale to continue looking for victims.

Despite the discovery of the bodies of four family members who were the 27th, 28th, 29th and 30th victims on the seventh day of the search, he said the SAR operation continued to face difficulties.

"To find just one more victim in a very wide area of almost 15 acres is very difficult," he said.

Ahmadi said that in addition to digging and excavation works involving excavators, rescue workers with tracking dogs had to search the same area many times to locate victims.

"Thank God, finally at around 4.30 pm on Saturday (Dec 24), we managed to find the last body. As a rescue team, finding a victim is the most effective medicine to remove all our fatigue," he said.

Earlier, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani officially ended the SAR operation for the victims of the landslide tragedy at 12 noon, after he confirmed that there were no more victims involved or missing in the incident.

In the early morning incident on Dec 16, a total of 92 victims were involved, 61 of whom survived, while 31 died. Of the number of casualties, 18 were adults and 13 were children, including a one-year-old baby.

In total, 20 bodies were found in sector A (hill view), one in sector B (farm view) and another 10 in sector C (river side). - Bernama

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