‘Disaster’ at Ipoh limestone hill causes mild panic on social media

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IPOH: A “disaster” involving more than 100 students at a limestone hill here caused mild panic on social media and chat applications, following a video of emergency services rushing to the scene.

The video was also accompanied by a voice message by an unidentified man who claimed there was a “major landslide” near Gunung Lang, 5km from the city.

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All this was part of a three-day National Disaster Management Camp organised by the Red Crescent Society at the Gunung Lang Recreational Park since Friday.

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It is learnt some 20 government agencies, including police, firemen, civil defence and health department officials took part in the mock emergency scene staged today.

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Perak ruler Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah was present at the event held today. The sultan is the patron of the Red Crescent Society.

Disaster simulation director Fire Superintendent (Penguasa Bomba) Mohd Shazlean Mohd Hanafiah said the “disaster” was a situation where 90 students at a kampung were “buried” in a landslide.

“The 90 students involved were trainees of the Ulu Kinta Teachers’ Training College.

“The whole simulation took about 45 minutes. We took 25 minutes plus to remove most of the victims out of the rubble,” Shazlean told FMT.

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Second from right, Perak Fire Dept Superintendent (Penguasa Bomba) Mohd Shazlean Mohd Hanafiah

He said the “disaster” was held according to procedures in the National Security Council Order 20, where emergency rescue teams are required to go to the aid of victims during natural disasters.

Shazlean said some 200 people from all over the country took part in the three-day camp, with participants from Singapore and Indonesia as well.

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Members of the public who saw the fire engines and ambulances thought a real disaster was taking place and rushed to spread the news through WhatsApp.

One WhatsApp caller even recalled the Gunung Cheroh disaster in 1973, when about 40 people died after chunks from a limestone hill in Ipoh collapsed onto a squatter colony below.