It has been a week since the eight story building housing four garment factories, a bank and several shops collapsed.
There are still hundreds of people who remain unaccounted for, around 400 confirmed dead and over 2,400 rescued through the tireless efforts of local volunteers and the emergency services of Bangladesh.
While few children were directly affected by the disaster, it is clear that – as expected – significant numbers of children will be indirectly affected as a result of the death or incapacity of their parents.
“Before this happened I was able to make a living to support my children, and I was able to send them to school to get an education,” says Marrium, a 27-year-old garment factory worker. “Now, I don’t know what I will do.”
Marrium was working on the 7th floor of one of the garment factories when the building collapsed. She spent 38 terrifying hours under the rubble, unable to move her body. During the ordeal, her right arm was cut off.
Fears for the future
Save the Children staff met Marrium in the Emergency Unit of the National Orthopedic Hospital in Dhaka.
She was in unbearable pain and the loss of her right hand and forearm meant she was in massive shock.
Marrium’s two children, a daughter aged nine and a son aged six, sat beside her in hospital. Her husband died when her son was only six months old, and she has shouldered the responsibility for her children’s well being since then.
With the money she earned from her job in the garment factory, Marrium’s children were able to live well and study hard in school.
As a result of this catastrophic event, her two young children’s future now lies in the balance.
Marrium cried “If I had lost my legs and not my hand, I could still work to keep my children alive. I could still feed them and pay for their education, but now I cannot. They don’t have a father… who will look after my children now?”
Save the Children’s response
Save the Children and PLAN Bangladesh are assisting children and families affected by the disaster.
We will work closely with Bangladeshi partner organizations and the responsible government authorities to support the ongoing relief efforts.
We are gathering information on children affected by the disaster through bedside interviews with injured people and through running information help desks. We are also providing assistance as required.
Case study collected by Ridwanul Mosrur, Save the Children Bangladesh