Last week, a 6.0 magnitude earthquake hit the Malaysian state of Sabah. Some Singaporeans were caught in the earthquake and 6 children, 2 teachers, and 1 climbing instructor are now either dead or missing.
Most of the dead and missing were part of a school trip climbing Mount Kinabalu. As the surviving Singaporeans return to Singapore, some are wondering if the Mount Kinabalu tragedy could have been avoided. My answer to that is an unfortunate “No”.
Now I had read about complaints some Singaporeans had about the route the children were taking but I feel that’s an argument given in hindsight of the earthquake. To my knowledge, there are 2 ways up Mount Kinabalu. A walking trek up the mountain, or a climbing route where climbers scale metal rungs punched into Mount Kinabalu’s cliffs. The children were on the climbing route and some Singaporeans have said that the children would probably have survived if they were walking up the mountain.
True but that’s the result of hindsight when we know of the earthquake that hit Sabah. The route the children were taking was a relatively easy route that’s suitable even for 10-year-olds. Surely 12-year-old Singaporean can take it right?
It is always sorrowful when people die, especially children as young as 12, but an earthquake is a natural disaster. No one could have predicted that the earthquake would have hit just as the children were climbing the mountain. This is a tragedy but there’s no one to blame for it, it’s a natural disaster.