Published: Saturday, May 11, 2013

DEATH TOLL 1058

Hope regained

Rescuers suspend using heavy equipment after miraculous rescue of Reshma

With the rescue operation into its 17th day, little did the rescuers think about pulling any more survivors out of the debris of the collapsed Rana Plaza.
But much to their surprise, there was Reshma alive yesterday. The young female garment worker was rescued, almost unhurt, in the afternoon.
The death toll from the country’s deadliest building collapse has reached to 1,058, as 45 more bodies were recovered as of filing this report today at 1:50am.
Besides, 2,438 people have been rescued alive so far, according to army control room in Savar.
Hoping to find out some more survivors, the rescuers yesterday suspended using heavy equipment, which they had employed on April 28, three days after the disaster hit the high rise in Savar.
“Using torchlight, we are now searching for the victims still alive [if there is any],” said Maj Gen Chowdhury Hasan Suhrawardy, general officer commanding of the Bangladesh Army’s Ninth Infantry Division.
The rescuers are inspired after rescuing Reshma alive. The rescue operation will continue as long as there is any hope of finding a single soul, he added.
WAIT NOT OVER
Yesterday, many family members and relatives of the missing people were seen waiting anxiously at the Adhar Chandra High School ground for their loved ones.
They also got frustrated as they did not get any clear instructions from the authorities concerned about the compensation and salaries of the victims. The authorities are only giving compensation on the basis of the bodies.
Only a few bodies of the victims could be identified by the family members, mostly by the ID cards and mobile phones, as most of the corpses were beyond recognition.
Mohammad Kamruzzaman, husband of missing Nila Akhtar, identified his wife’s body after checking her ID card.
“I am lucky as I have found the body of my wife after 16 days. But I am very unlucky also as I could not go to Rangpur for burial as my sister-in-law is still missing,” said Kamruzzaman in tears.
Among the 1,058 bodies, 731 have been handed over to the family members and 156 unclaimed bodies have been buried by Anjuman Mufidul Islam at Jurain graveyard in the capital till yesterday.
Colonel Ibn Fazal Shayekuzzaman, coordinating staff of the rescue operation, told The Daily Star that the rescue team has reached close to the basement of the collapsed nine-storey building.
The rescuers have information that nearly 45 cars were parked at the basement.
Contacted, Abdul Ahad Ansari, chairman of the standing committee of labour education and welfare of the BGMEA, said 1,793 surviving garment workers have been paid so far.
Shofiqul Islam Sujon, president of Bangladesh Garments and Industrial Workers’ Federation, said they have submitted a list of around 3,712 workers to Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA). They used to work at five garment factories at Rana Plaza.
He said he thought the factories had employed around 4,200 workers.