Tuesday 20 February 2018

Factory survivor leaves hospital

Reshma Begum has left garment factories behind her for good and is now going to work at a hotel (AP)
Reshma Begum has left garment factories behind her for good and is now going to work at a hotel (AP)

A teenage seamstress who survived for 17 days in the rubble of a collapsed Bangladesh garment factory building has left hospital.

Reshma Begum vowed to never again work in a garment factory after she was rescued from the wreckage of the eight-story Rana Plaza building near the capital Dhaka. She now has a new job at an international hotel chain.

A total of 1,129 people were killed in April's collapse in the world's worst garment industry disaster.

The 19-year-old, whose tale of survival in a wide pocket beneath the debris has made her a celebrity in Bangladesh, fielded job offers from many companies before accepting work at the Westin Hotel in Dhaka, said Major General Chowdhury Hasan Suhrawardy, the local military chief overseeing her care.

The Westin's manager, Azim Shah, said Ms Begum would work in the housekeeping department as a "public area ambassador". Hotel officials said she would talk to guests, but did not elaborate on her responsibilities.

Authorities at the military hospital where Ms Begum was treated said she had fully recovered, and she looked well as she spoke briefly to the media on her release on Thursday.

"I am okay now, doing fine. I am grateful to everybody," she said, before leaving in a van heading for the hotel.

Ms Begum, who earned 4,700 takas (£39) a month at one of the factories in Rana Plaza, suffered a head injury in the collapse. She survived beneath the rubble by rationing cookies and water she had with her.

Despite global pressure for reform in the Bangladeshi garment industry, some incidents still occur.

About 450 garment workers fell ill during their shifts at a sweater factory near Dhaka on Wednesday, and authorities said the water supply is suspected. Investigators from the health ministry are testing the water at the Starlight Sweater Factory for possible contamination, civil surgeon Syed Habibullah said.

Press Association

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