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Dhaka Tribune

Tension flares over debris removal plan

Update : 28 Apr 2013, 06:30 AM

Tension was created after the army rescue team announced a debris removal operation five days into the building collapse incident at Savar, with the relatives of the missing still hopeful to get back their dear ones.

According to the control room, the rescue workers traced seven more people in the debris this afternoon.

Earlier, they found nine people on third floor of the building this morning. Of them, five were rescued so far.

Major General Chowdhury Hasan Suhrawardi of the 9th Infantry Division, which leads the rescue operation, disclosed the plan to remove debris from the site in a press briefing this morning.

He said the operation will begin as soon as the nine people found to be trapped on the second floor are rescued.

But volunteers said this may ruin whatever slim chances those trapped, beside the nine, have of surviving.

They also said it would be very tough and time-consuming to rescue those inside, but using heavy equipment would be “inhumane” and may knock the precarious structure off balance.

A rescue worker from Red Crescent, wishing anonymity, told the Dhaka Tribune that they are getting groaning sounds and voices appealing for help from different points of the building.

“We will ask for opinions from the rescuers. If they say it would not be possible to rescue the nine survivors manually, we will begin operation to lift them,” Suhrawardi said.

Niyamul Hossain, waiting in front of the collapsed Rana Plaza with hopes to get back his daughter, was appealing to journalists to request the army to delay the operation.

Mohammad Azizul is still expecting to get back his brother Babul, who worked as a supervisor on the fourth floor. He said he had heard that his brother was still alive wedged under a table.

“I want my brother dead or alive. But if the army use heavy equipment, I would not get his body,” he said.

Rehana Begum is also waiting for her missing sister, Salma Begum, who worked as a supervisor on the third floor.

Rehana said, “I would get my sister if the manual efforts continue. But in case heavy rescue gears are used, it would not be possible even to identify the dead bodies.”

Rescue worker Babul Sheikh also spoke in support of continuing manual efforts for some more time. “We can rescue more people from under the rubble if the manual operation continues.”  

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