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Dhaka Tribune

Rana Plaza survivors want to go back home

Update : 28 Apr 2013, 02:45 AM

“I want to go back home … it is a bad place to work. I don’t want to return to that death trap again.” Such were the comments of Lutfar, a survivor who could barely move due to excruciating pain.

The Tangail man was speaking of his harrowing experience and subsequent extrication from the rubble, as he lay in a hospital bed.

Lutfar sustained injures to his hands and legs, and was taken to a hospital close to the site.

A "blue-collar" worker, Lutfar used to work for the button division of one of the factories in Rana Plaza, but could not say which.

Lutfar’s expression is typical of many survivors under treatment at Enam Medical Hospital, located near the eight-storey structure that tumbled down on the morning of April 24, killing more than 300 and injuring many more.

This correspondent talked to dozens of survivors, most of whom just want to return to their homes.

Over 3000 people were believed to have been trapped under the rubble of the collapsed building in Savar.

“Suddenly, I heard a bang while working … then within five minutes or so, everything went topsy-turvy."

“I was initially incapacitated. Then miraculously I was able to make my way out, crawling through the gaps [in the structure]. I would never return to that death trap,” Lutfar repeated himself.

The survivor’s elder sister standing close to him said: “I found him on the street on the first day of the accident.”

The first person able to make his way out of the collapsed building, Mithun, who also hails from Tangail, defied death. He worked on the third floor for New Weave Bottoms Ltd.

He said: “It is better to remain half-fed than to work here. I was able to come back from the grave. I don’t want to go back there anymore.”

“I was making my way downstairs when the building began to collapse,” Mithun could not finish the rest of his story. He stopped in the middle of the sentence, choked with emotion.

Mithun sustained injuries all over his body, and bears many bruises.

He said: “We were asked to come into work on the day of the collapse, otherwise our salary and overtime payments would not be paid out. Fearing financial losses, I took the risk.”

Abdul Khaleq, Mithun’s elder brother, said his brother is suffering shock and despair.

“I will take him back home, I do not want him to risk his life again," he said.

Shuvo, a survivor from Manikganj, narrated a similar story of survival.

Shuvo sustained injuries to his nose and hands.

He made his frustration known and said that employers are very bad people at heart.

“I do not want to work for them again, they want to push us to our deaths,” Shuvo said.

Grimacing in pain, he said: “Before the building collpased, the power had gone out and the generator was turned on. I heard a bang following the collapse.”

Sajib, a survivor from Paban, said: “I would prefer working in a safe place. I had to engage in this work as I am the sole bread-winner in my family.”

He jumped from the third floor of the building and sustained injuries to his head and legs.

Sajib’s two elder sisters – Roma and Rashida – also garment workers in a nearby factory – were attending to him in the hospital.

Roma said her brother had been hesitant to return to work on the ill-fated day.

“But sir [Sajib's supervisor] asked him to come into work. Otherwise his salary would not be paid, he might even have been fired from the job,” she said.

Shaheen from Sherpur said he worked for the cutting division on the 5th floor, and was trapped between two large bars, but was able to crawl out of a gap he came across in the broken structure.

He said: “They [employers] are not human beings. They are very bad people. I do not want to fall into their grasp again. I want to go to my parents.”

“I would rather work on the field to support my family,” he continued.   



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