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Hasem Bepari was rescued from the collapsed building Rana Plaze, Savar. Only five minutes after the building began to collapse, everything was destroyed, he says. Photo: ADESH

Bangladesh: Hasem Bepari survived the tragedy at Rana Plaza

On the 24th of April, the Rana Plaza in Savar, Dhaka, Bangladesh collapsed and thousands of workers got stuck in the rubble. At least three of them are active members of Diakonia's partner organization ADESH. So far, only one of them has been found alive. Here is the story of Hasem Bepari.

Persuaded to keep working

Hasem Bepari is an active member of Diakonia's partner organization ADESH. He was pulled out from the collapsed Rana Plaza six hours after the disaster occurred. He shares what happened before the collapse:

"On the day before the collapse, cracks were found in the walls of the building, but the authorities said that it was still safe to work. So I went to the factory on the next day. There, me and my colleagues were offered two months salary in advance if we worked despite the worries from yesterday."

Rescued after six hours

Soon after the factory generator was set in motion, the building started to collapse. Within five minutes everything has destroyed.

Hasem continues to talk about the collapse:

"Enormous parts of concrete fell on me and the people around me. The upper floor was just an inch above my nose."

There were almost 100 people in his working area; among them 40 survived and the rest of them tragically died during the collapse.

Almost six hours later, Hasem was saved and brought to hospital by the rescue team after they drilled him free from the rubble. 

Many people are still missing

Shayla Akter, another person who is active in ADESH, died in the accident of Rana Plaza. She went to the factory to collect her salary on the day of the collapse. However, she and her fellow workers were forced to stay in the bulding, since the manager threatened to not pay the month salary to anyone that refused to work that day.

Another woman involved in ADESH has after the publication of this article been found dead. Diakonia's thoughts go out to the family and friends of both Shayla and this person.