Woman Rescued After 17 Days in Bangladesh Rubble

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
May 10 2013 10:54 AM

The Woman Rescued After 17 Days in Bangladesh Rubble Is in Remarkably Good Health

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Bangladeshi rescuers retrieve garment worker Reshma from the rubble of a collapsed building in Savar on May 10, 2013.

Photo by Strdel/AFP/Getty Images

Here's some rare good news from the still-unfolding industrial disaster in Bangladesh that has already claimed more than 1,000 lives: Rescuers on Friday pulled a survivor out of the rubble that was once a crowded garment factory, more than two weeks after the building collapsed.

The New York Times has a good rundown on where, and how, Reshma was found:

Rescuers, speaking on live national television from the wreckage site, said they were clearing debris on Friday afternoon when they saw a pipe moving. It turned out to be Reshma, shaking the pipe from below, trying to gain attention. “Save me!” rescuers say they heard her shouting.
Her rescue was broadcast on television across Bangladesh. A garment worker, Reshma was wearing a purple and red salwar kamiz as she was removed from the rubble. One of the rescuers, a soldier with the Bangladeshi Army, told television crews that Reshma had discovered food and water that had lasted until two days ago. “When we first spoke to her, she wanted some food and water,” the soldier said. Ali Ahmed Khan, Bangladesh Fire Service director general, noted that Reshma was apparently inside a Muslim prayer room in the building, which had oxygen and enough clear space for her to stand up.
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She's in a military hospital recovering, according to multiple news reports. Given that Reshma spent 17 days trapped in the rubble, her condition is shockingly good. The Associated Press reports that Reshma was able to walk after being rescued. She's alert, talking, and according to doctors at the hospital, her kidney and liver function aren't showing any signs of danger.

About 2,500 people were rescued from the scene of the disaster right after the April 24 collapse, but workers had given up hope days ago of finding another survivor. The last person found alive in the rubble was discovered on April 28, but as workers tried to free her from the rubble a fire broke out and she died.

The disaster's death toll, meanwhile, has steadily climbed by the day. It now stands at more than 1,000 and has shown little sign of stopping there. Workers are currently clearing debris from the most heavily damaged parts of the building, and are expected to find more bodies as they do so.

Abby Ohlheiser is a Slate contributor.

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