Testimony of Shapla, Left Arm Amputation and a Serious Head Injury

May, 05 2013 Share


Shapla, 20, Lost Her Left Arm and Sustained a Serious Head Injury
In the Rana Plaza Collapse


Twenty-year-old Shapla lost her left arm and sustained a serious head injury in the Rana Plaza collapse.  Her husband, Mehedul Alam, is seated beside her.


"My name is Shapla and I am 20 years old.  I worked at the New Wave Style factory on the second floor of the Rana Plaza building.  My ID card is #12047.  We have a four-year-old son named Mursalin.  I was a sewing machine operator.

"On Wednesday, April 24, 2013, we started working at 8:00 a.m.  After about an hour, the back side of the building caved in.  Like other workers, I ran to the stairs to escape.  But a large concrete pillar fell on me.  My left arm was crushed and pinned under the pillar.  I was in extreme pain.  I felt like my arm and head were cut from my body.  At 9:30 a.m., within 30 minutes of the collapse, a rescue team pulled me out of the ruins and took me to the Rebeya Clinic in Savar.

"A doctor stitched my head wound and referred me to the Dhaka Orthopedic Hospital to try to save my left arm.  I was brought to Dhaka on April 25.  My left arm was so badly crushed that the doctor said they would have to amputate.  My arm below the elbow was cut off.  I still have severe headaches.  I had 10 to 15 stitches.  No one can realize such pain, who has not had to face it.  It is beyond our endurance.

"I wanted to live for my son, but not like the way I must now live.  There is no chance that I can lead a normal life.  I can't think how bad my future might be.  The doctor did not say how long I will need to stay in the hospital.  It may take two months, or six months.

"I am lucky that Allah saved my life.  Many of my co-workers died on the spot.  Factory management killed hundreds of workers.  They should not get away with this.  They should be brought to trial for these mass killings!

"For the last couple of months, in March and April, we had a huge work load.  I had to work 115 overtime hours in March and 100 overtime hours up to April 24.  Including all overtime, I earned a monthly wage of 8,000 to 8,500 taka [$102.35 to $108.74 per month; $23.62 to $25.09 per week.]  We did not have a single day off during the last two months. 

"Management forced us to work on April 24 so the clothing shipments could go out, despite our fear and unwillingness to enter the factory.

"I worked so hard to save a little money for the future of my son, for his education.  Now my hope is dashed."




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