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Bangladesh miracle survivor says no to garment industry

world Updated: May 13, 2013 21:08 IST

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Three days after her miraculous rescue from the rubbles of the collapsed eight-storey building in Savar, the 19-year-old Bangladeshi girl Monday declared that she "will never again work in a garment factory".

Reshma Begum, who was rescued 17 days after the disaster struck Rana Plaza, which housed five garment factories, said she was forced to work by her manager though the building developed huge cracks a day before.

"We didn't want to work. But our bosses forced us to join the work saying that nothing would happen," she said.

"Suddenly the building collapsed. I was hit on my head. Everybody was shouting for water. A man was crying for water saying Reshma, please give me some water. I was looking for water. But I could not provide him with water. Then the man died," said Reshma.

"I have seen many people dying around me, but I had never lost my hope," the mother of a girl-child said.

"I ate only four pieces of biscuits and a bottle of water in 17 days. I had nothing more to eat," she said.

Reshma was rescued on Friday afternoon, 17 days after the building caved in on April 24 killing 1,127 people.

Rescuers pulled Reshma out through a hole made by light instruments like hand saw, hammer and drilling machine after many agonising hours.

"Now I feel much better. I was lying all the time. My clothes were torn as I crawled inside the rubble. One day I saw some light and then shouted for help. A rescuer then provided me with a torch light with which I found new clothes and wore those," Reshma described.

In her first formal appearance before the media, the girl said, "I never dreamt that I could come out of the rubble. I always called the Almighty Allah. And Allah has saved me."

Brig Gen Ashfaq, a psychiatrist at the hospital where Reshma in undergoing treatment, said Reshma was puzzled and confused when she was rescued.

"She got panicked when someone touched her," he said. "Now she is doing fine, better. We have talked a lot with her."