Nayyar Iqbal, Save the Children, Bangladesh
I can only imagine how distressing it must have been for the children waiting for their parents to be pulled out of the rubble of the the collapsed Rana Plaza building, not knowing whether they would be dead or alive.
The women working in garment factories are already poor and vulnerable. Permanent disability, or death, can only mean their children’s lives will be made worse in the coming months.
These children risk dropping out of school or resorting to child labour simply in order to put food on the table.
Right now, we’re helping them to cope in the aftermath of this grave tragedy.
A major tragedy
This tragedy at Savar, Bangladesh, saw the collapse of an eight storey building which housed four garment factories.
Nearly 400 people where killed, and more than 1000 injured, with many more still missing.
Rescue teams made up of armed forces and local people have pulled about 2,500 people alive from the ruins so far.
The hopes of rescuing more survivors have now faded.
As the stench of rotting bodies grows stronger each day, rescuers have brought in heavy machinery to clear the debris and retrieve the bodies of the dead.
Grieving families gathering at the destruction site can only hope to collect the bodies of their dear ones.
Save the Children has set up help desks to collect information on children whose parents were injured or died in the tragedy.
We have also established a child-friendly space to care for children whose parents are engaged in searching for their relatives among the ruins of the Rana Plaza.
These spaces are filled with art and play activities so children can interact with other children and talk through their experiences under the supervision of a trained adult.
A wake-up call
But this will not be enough. This tragedy is a wake-up call for us all, as larger buildings housing more workers could be at risk too.
Safety checks on buildings need to be made and standards enforced, because the one who ultimately suffer the most from these tragedies are vulnerable people like Marrium and her family.