Monday, April 15, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Rescued alive endure lifelong suffering

Update : 30 Apr 2013, 08:28 PM

Misfortune remains the tag on many of the “fortunate” Rana Plaza victims, who narrowly escaped death under the rubble after the eight-storey building collapsed in Savar on April 24. Many of the Savar survivors are now disabled—physically or mentally. For some, these disabilities mean they are unlikely to ever be able to earn a living again.

Many of the 2,436 surviving workers injured in the deadly incident have had their limbs amputated since the tragedy. Some of these survivors will have to remain dependent of wheelchairs or crutches for the rest of their lives.

According to officials at the Enam Medical College Hospital, doctors had to conduct surgeries on numerous victims who had their limbs badly injured when the roofs, walls and heavy machinery fell on them.

“We have around 20 patients here who have undergone amputations during the rescue operation,” said Dr Enam Ahmed, director of the hospital. Three of those patients were kept on life support.

Meanwhile, at the Savar Combined Military Hospital (CMH), as many as 423 victims were admitted with massive injuries. Of them, 70 persons lost their hands, legs or eyes. The hospital received two critically injured and kept them on life support.

These victims, mostly coming from poverty-stricken and uneducated families, have lost all hope. Many of them were the only breadwinners in their families.

Pakhi Begum came to work in Savar three years back, to provide for her family in Khulna. But the collapse of her workplace has left her with two legs amputated from the knee.

“Now I have become a burden to my family. I do not know who will bear the family expenses and look after my children,” the woman in her 30s said.

At the time of the collapse of Rana Plaza, a concrete wall fell on Lovely’s hand; it had to be amputated. Though she was happy to find herself alive among hundreds of casualties, she remains anxious. She has to continue to support her family. “I sent money to my mother and younger sister. I do not know what will happen to them now,” she said. Her family members said some people offered them money to help with her medical expenses, which they declined.

“I came here to work and to earn a living, not to beg. How can I accept the money from other people?” Blaming the negligence of building owner, Sohel Rana for her misfortune, Lovely demanded that Rana be hanged.

Monica, who was admitted to the CMH, seemed traumatised. When asked her name, with horror in her eyes she said: “I do not want to go back to [work at] Rana Plaza.”

Hasina, her neighbour, said Monica was rescued from a dark corner of the devastated building three days following the incident.

“She screams in her sleep. She [relives] the building collapse in her dreams, her colleagues running and the deaths of several others around her in the same place where she was trapped. She is unable to talk normally,” said Hasina who was attending to the victim.



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