we started the day at chittagong medical hospital, to see our destitude friends from yesterday. we were so much hoping for some good news about the man in coma, but before we got to the overcrowded ward, humayun met us and told that the man expired last night. up in the ward, humayan's 12 year old brother had got the x-ray results. his hips were severely damaged, the bones in his right leg was fully broken and crossed. while staying there, two blog readers from chittagong met up with us, whereof one was a student at the medical college. with his help, the boy is at least ensured a good attention.
lebu bagan inside the cantonment was the next destination, probably some 80 casualties were there scattered over several affected areas. we could see red cross/red cresent moving in, as well as grameenphone/prothom alo, with some trucks filled with relief aid.
the search was on for the last missing body in the area we were in. when we walked up the valley between the sandy hills, a dense slum, we saw more and more destruction done by the forces of the landslide. about 50 fire brigade and army men were flushing water and removing the land slide soil, roots and trees. were they could find the body of nur jahan, nobody new. up in the hillside, a young girl, fahinoor, was silently watching. "will they not find my mother?" she asked before breaking down in tears. she lost her mother and her youngest brother and sister, and was left with her father, disabled after the accident, and her 12 year old brother. probably her small salary from the garments factory would be the only income for her reduced family in the months to come. her family had just bought their own house here 1.5 months ago, and was looking forward to a happy future feeling the pride of having their own home. what is the future now awaiting them?
here at this spot, 18 people died, a spot covering not more than 5-6 houses now all gone. just before the early morning landslide a tree fell on one of the men that had just left his house, and most of the neighbours came to his rescue in the rain. just then hell broke lose and swept away 11-12 of the group, all of which died on the spot.
another house was swept away, in which a large, happy family lived. slightly short of details, we can just wipe our tears to the story of the man now remaining with only two of his eight children, and also losing two other family members.
the only thing we could leave these people was our thoughts and the warmest words we could share, and spend some time comforting them. we have never felt so poor in vocabulary as when spending time with them.
on to the next spot further inside cantonment, people were queing up for relief aid. mori, chal, dal, oil and water. many didn't get, as supply was limited. we found belal, at least thats the name i remember. now a total orphan. he lost his mother, father and two sisters. all alone and without relatives there, his kaka had come from jessore to take him under his shelter. what do you say to such a boy? i held him close, gave him a hug, held his hand and let him talk. i could only say that for the love of your mother, dedicate yourself to study hard, think about what his mother would have wanted when life brings him to cross roads, and ask him to respect his mother by growing up as a strong and good boy.
perhaps the most touchy moment was while talking to the mother that lost her only two children. "i will never again be able to hear anyone calling out 'maa' for me..."
i could go on and on, there is no lack of stories to tell. but what strikes us is the extreme strength and acceptance of faith that these people radiate. their life has suddenly slipped into a big bag of emptiness, still there was less tears on their faces than on ours.
tomorrow, our last day, we will try to start rehabilitating humayun. help him find a new place to live and supply him with the basic things. but humayun is our new brother, and we shall not forget him. he need us, so do the widow, fahinoor, belal and several others.
with our efforts we are very sure that we have identified real people that need help to rebuild their lives, people that now only see darkness, but who we hope to bring back to a life gradually filled with colourful moments again. stay with us