Friday, May 10, 2013

Survivor found in Bangladesh rubble

Garment worker found alive, 17 days after Dhaka building collapse left more than 1,000 people dead.

A survivor has been found in the rubble of a garment factory, 17 days after its collapse left more than 1,000 people dead.

The woman, who identified herself to rescuers as Reshma, had cried out for help as recovery teams sifted through the remnants of the Rana Plaza in the outskirts of Bangladesh capital, Dhaka.

"She has been located in a gap between a beam and a column. She may have reserves of water or have drunk some of the water that we've pumped into the building," Ahmed Ali, fire service chief, told AFP news agency.

A workman helping to clear the wreckage reported hearing her faint cries of "save me, save me" from beneath the ruins. Upon investigation, he discovered the woman alive, hitting a metal pole against the rubble to make noise and attract attention.

Army engineers fed her biscuits and water, before digging through to release her - as hundreds of onlookers cheered.

Pale and drawn, the 19-year-old woman was hoisted out of the rubble on a stretcher, then loaded into an ambulance in scenes broadcast live on television.

"She has been rescued and taken to a military hospital," said Bangladesh's army spokesman Shahinul Islam.
The army said Reshma had come through her ordeal with no significant injuries. She survived on food around where she was trapped, but hadn't eaten for two days, she told rescuers.

More than 2,500 people were rescued in the immediate aftermath of the eight-storey building's collapse on April 24, but it remains unknown how many more corpses or survivors may lay in the wreckage.

About 1,000 textile workers are suffering from serious injuries following the collapse, including scores who had to undergo amputations in order to be freed from the rubble.

Captain Shahnewaz Zakaria, an army spokesman, said that many bodies of the deceased were badly decomposed, but could be identified by mobile phones in their pockets or factory identity cards.

"Of the total dead, most are female garment workers," he said.

Of the bodies recovered so far, "at least 150 bodies were buried in unmarked graves in a state graveyard after they could not be identified", Zakaria added.

The authorities are taking DNA samples from all victims in preparation for future compensation claims.
More than 3,000 garment workers were in the building's five garment factories which made clothing for Western retailers such as Benetton, Mango and Primark when the structure collapsed after a loud bang, trapping them.

Preliminary findings of a government probe have blamed vibrations by four giant generators on the compound's upper floors for triggering the collapse.

The building's architect told AFP he designed the structure to house a shopping mall and offices, not factories.

Police have arrested 12 people, including Rana Plaza's owner Sohel Rana, and four garment factory owners, for forcing people to work on April 24, even though cracks appeared in the structure the previous day.

Factory workers have held protests calling for improved safety regulations and tough punishments for those responsible for the disaster.

The collapse was the latest in a string of deadly accidents to hit the South Asian country's textile industry, including a factory fire in November 2012 that killed 112 garment workers.

On Thursday, a fire in another garment factory in the Bangladeshi capital killed eight people, including the factory's owner.

Source: Al Jazeera English
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...