Published: Saturday, May 11, 2013

Joyous end to 16-day wait

Reshma’s family gave up the hope to find her alive after rescuers had begun the second phase of their operation using heavy machinery to clear the rubble of collapsed Rana Plaza in Savar.
Her three siblings and mother had been waiting at Adhar Chandra High School playground for more than 16 days, as the bodies recovered from debris were being brought there for identification.
“Our family gathered at the building site right after the collapse. For three days, we kept fingers crossed that she would be rescued alive,” Reshma’s eldest brother Zayed told The Daily Star.
“When that did not happen, we ceased to cling to hope. We waited to collect her body, may be a few bones, to give her a proper burial,” he said.
Zayed, a waste trader in Dinajpur, his brother Sadek, a rickshaw puller in Dhaka, sister Asma, a garment worker, and their 60-year-old mother Jobeda Begum had grown impatient as the rescue operation was inching towards the final stage.
“Whenever a body was brought to the school playground, we jumped in to see whether it was her,” said Zayed.
He said 20-year-old Reshma had been working as an operator for New Wave Bottoms on the second floor of Rana Plaza for around three years. She was the youngest among five siblings.
Yesterday around 4:00pm, when Zayed had gone to buy beetle leaves for his mother from a shop adjacent to the school building, he came to know that a girl named Reshma had been found alive.
“Immediately I rushed to the collapse site and phoned my sister to ask her to bring a photo of Reshma. By the time we reached there, Reshma had been brought out and taken to Savar CMH [Combined Military Hospital],” he said.
The family from Dinajpur then went to the hospital. The reunion was heavenly. All of them broke into tears seeing her, alive.
Her sister Asma, who did not go to work on April 24, said: “We had given up hope. We were waiting for her body.”
“When Reshma saw me at the hospital she could only utter “apa” [my sister]. She looked very pale,” Asma said.
Meanwhile, hearing the news of the rescue on television, people of Reshma’s village, Koshigari in Ghoraghat upazila, erupted into jubilation.
The villagers were ecstatic about the fact that she had been rescued almost unscathed from under the rubble of a nine-storey building. Thousands of them descended on roads and celebrated the miracle.
“It is unbelievable,” said Mozibor Rahman, chairman of Singra union of the upazila.
Fatema Begum, eldest sister of Reshma, also came to know about the news through television. She said she had been spending her days glued to the TV screen and praying for at least getting the body of her sister.
Rescuers yesterday around 4:20pm pulled out Reshma from the first floor of the caved-in Rana Plaza.

  • Reaz Hassan

    All praise is to Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful. We pray that all Reshmas of Bangladesh have a decent life-they are one like us and deserve a much better return for their labor.