December 14, 2005

Rescued alive after two months under earthquake debris.

I can't understand how this is possible, but a woman trapped by the October 8th earthquake has just been saved.
Naqsha Bibi, now under hospital treatment, is suffering from muscle stiffness and is so weak that she can barely talk....

"We were not even looking for her," says Faiz Din, her cousin who found her....

"Frankly, we were all so busy taking care of our own families that no one was thinking of the house next door," Faiz Din says....

It seems that Naqsha was trapped in her kitchen when her small house collapsed around her....

Faiz Din says there were some traces of food, most of it rotting, in the kitchen when he found her.

The air in the tiny space was fresh, which implies that some airway must have remained open through the debris.

And there was a trickle of water on one side of the kitchen, probably from one of several tiny streams that dot the Kamsar area.

"We started clearing the debris of her house on 10 December, mainly to pull the iron sheets off the collapsed roof to build ourselves a shelter," says Faiz Din....

"We first thought she was dead but she opened her eyes as we were pulling her out," says Faiz....

That was why Faiz Din didn't take her to a doctor immediately despite being so close to Muzaffarabad.

"We thought she was going to die any moment," he says.

"So we just put her inside a tent and let her be."
Imagine what this woman went through, suffering to survive and thinking about dying all those days, with her relatives next door and not bothering to look for her, and then, when they just happen to find her, being set aside as if she were already a corpse. She's not able to talk yet, but I'd like to know what she has to say about this Faiz Din character.

10 comments:

XWL said...

Three possibilities.

First, somewhere deep in the recesses of some people's DNA(but probably not all people)is a hibernation like mechanism left over from some squirrel like ancestor that allow them to survive in a coma like state for extended periods of time under very specific conditions.

Second, it's a hoax being pushed by some religious fanatics or mountebanks who hope to push this miracle woman as a sign from god or tourist attraction.

Third, an honest to god/allah miracle. They still happen. Some people's will to live transcend crudely rational concepts of the possible.

wildaboutharrie said...

This reminds me of the documentary Touching the Void - when the climber is cut loose and left for dead, then manages to crawl down the mountain, dehydrated, with a broken leg, makes it to his camp latrine and calls for help. No reply. He says a part of him died just then. It's such a profoundly sad story.

And his acquaintance in camp did hear him but didn't venture out as he was afraid of what he might find.

I think Faiz Din perhaps was living by what trauma experts call "new norms". At least, I hope that was the case, you hate to think a person is just callous.

God bless this woman, what an ordeal.

Tristram said...

Given the culture, you wonder if the same thing would have happened if the person buried had been male. I mean the callousness of not even calling a doctor when the person is found to be alive...the mind boggles...

And not even checking next door? Okay, there must be some sort of time span where immediate needs are attended to, but 2-months later? Damnit, they should have at least searched for her body to butry it properly, so rats and scavengers don't get it.

Ann Althouse said...

Reading this story, I can't help speculating that they deliberately avoided moving the metal roof until they were sure she was dead, then they went to take the metal they wanted to use, and then when they saw she was alive, deliberately put her aside to die and planned to say she was dead when they pulled her out. "New norms," indeed. And, yeah, I tend to think they avoided digging her out because she was female.

wildaboutharrie said...

Well, if it was because she is a woman, then it's the "old norms".

Gah.

bearbee said...

When I was reading survivor literature about the Holocaust and the Gulags often I wondered how they could endure and if I would have been able to survive.

Her spirit recognized no 'norms'.

I just wonder how many others may be lingering....

reader_iam said...

When I was reading survivor literature about the Holocaust and the Gulags often I wondered how they could endure and if I would have been able to survive.

Viktor Frankl.

wildaboutharrie said...

No surprise, but other news sources (a quick Google search brought up some) give a very different picture of the cousin and other villagers as to why they didn't look for this woman and how they treated her after they found her. I'd like to know the whole story before condemning Faiz Din.

erp said...

Poor lady. When she regains her senses, I wonder if she will find all her worldly goods have mysteriously disappeared, her roof being the last thing to wander off.

Is anyone else's eyesight being sorely tested trying to decipher the code word letters?

Gina Cobb said...

Related post:

Never, Never Give Up: Woman Found Alive 63 Days After Earthquake
http://ginacobb.typepad.com/gina_cobb/2005/12/never_never_giv.html