Belfast Telegraph

Monday 20 October 2014

Collapse building girl recovering

Seamstress Reshma Begum receives treatment at a hospital in Savar, near Dhaka, Bangladesh, after being rescued from a collpased garment factory after 17 days (AP)
Reshma Begum, who survived 17 days before being rescued from a collapsed garment factory building, receives treatment at a hospital in Savar, near Dhaka, Bangladesh (AP)
A rescuer gestures towards a crane working to clear rubble from the site of a garment factory that collapsed in Savar, near Dhaka, Bangladesh (AP)

A seamstress who survived 17 days before being rescued from a collapsed clothes factory building outside Bangladesh's capital is said to be making a good recovery in hospital.

Reshma Begum was panicked, dehydrated and suffering from insomnia, but was in a generally good condition, her doctors said.

The rescue of Ms Begum, 19, brought a boost to the workers who had spent more than two weeks pulling decaying bodies from the rubble in Dhaka.

On Saturday they resumed their grim recovery task as the death toll surpassed 1,100 in the world's worst garment industry disaster.

"We will not leave the operation until the last dead body and living person is found," said Maj Gen Chowdhury Hasan Suhrawardy, the head of the local military units in charge of rescue operations.

Lt Col Azizur Rahman, a doctor at the military hospital where Ms Begum is being treated, said she was exhausted and badly stressed when she was brought in an ambulance on Friday afternoon.

She suffered scratches, but no major injuries, he said. Her kidneys were functioning at less than 45 % and she had insomnia. "She is panicked, sometimes she holds nurses' hands tight," he said.

Doctors were giving her semi-solid food and saline for her dehydration. They advised complete rest, and barred reporters from speaking to her for fear their questions would worsen her fragile psychological state. "We don't want those memories to haunt her now, so we are not allowing anybody to ask her anything," Lt Col Rahman said, adding that a team of psychiatrists would examine her.

Ms Begum spent 17 days in a room-like area under the rubble high enough for her to stand, surviving on dried food, bottled water and rainwater, Maj Gen Suhrawardy said. She got fresh air from some of the 27 air holes that rescuers had dug in the rubble and even found cartons of dresses inside and was able to change her clothes, Maj Gen Suhrawardy said. "Her return is amazing, miraculous," he added.

On Saturday, officials said that 1,115 bodies had been recovered from the ruins of the fallen Rana Plaza building, which housed five clothes factories employing thousands of workers. They said 780 bodies had been handed over to families.

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