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Malaysian mother: 'It was the last time I saw my child alive'

KOTA KINABALU (THE STAR) - When she left for work in the morning, Razma Botong never expected that it would be the last time she would see her youngest daughter, Norain Julaziz, alive.

On Wednesday (July 27), the 36-year-old mother of three left their squatter home near Taman Elok in Bukit Nenas here for work at a restaurant like any other day.

But a distraught Madam Razma returned home at about 8pm only to find in shock the remnants of her house that had collapsed after it was hit by a landslide moments earlier.

“When the landslip occurred, all my children were at home with my parents. An incident like this has never happened throughout our time living here,” she said when met at the site on Thursday.

The house where the family of nine stayed was destroyed.PHOTO: THE STAR

Madam Razma said she immediately scoured the rubble.

Norain, 11, was the last of four trapped to be pulled out of the ruins.

Her nephew, Isa Sabri, two, also perished in the tragedy.

“My nephew was the first to be found, followed by his parents,” she added as she tried to hold back tears.

The deceased were among the family of nine living in the house, which was buried in the landslide after hours of heavy rain in the state capital on Wednesday night.

Both children were pronounced dead at Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

The boy’s mother, Siti Nur, 28, suffered a broken arm, and his father Sabri Botong, also 28, injured his legs.

Madam Razma’s father, Botong Jaafar, 57, said he saw how the landslip “swallowed” his grandchildren, Isa and Norain.

He said they had just finished dinner, and the kids proceeded to play in the living room.

“Suddenly, I heard a loud noise coming from outside before realising it was a landslide,” he said.

Mr Botong added that while they were grateful Isa’s parents had survived, the whole family was greatly traumatised by the incident.

Bernama reported the children’s grandmother as saying that they had felt tremors and heard the sound of gushing water before the landslide.

Madam Arisa Barahim, 58, said the water and debris from the hill came right into the kitchen.

“I leapt to save myself, so did some other family members. However, one of my daughters and my grandchildren were buried in the debris,” she said.

“All of us tried to rescue the children but it was unfortunate that we couldn’t.”

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