Nearly 42 hours after the collapse of Jilani building, for the family of 29-year-old Shabnam Mohamed Ali Shaikh, the nightmare is far from over. Initially told by local residents involved in rescue operations that Shabnam had been found alive from under the debris, the Shaikh family is yet to locate her.
Shabnam stayed on the third floor of the building along with her mother Zulekha Shaikh (52). On Monday, the family was told by local residents that both had been rescued and sent to the hospital. “When I reached the site of the collapse, my mother was being taken to the hospital. Local residents, who knew my sister, told me that Shabnam has been rescued along with my mother,” said Nilofer Shaikh, Shabnam’s elder sister.
Nilofer added that while she found her mother in an ambulance as she was being rushed to IGM hospital, where most of those rescued were being taken, she could not find Shabnam even at the hospital.
Shabnam is neither in the list of the deceased nor the injured. While there is a possibility that Shabnam could still be trapped under the debris, local residents have told the family that they distinctly remember removing her from the rubble.
Over the last 24 hours, the family has been making the rounds of almost every hospital in Bhiwandi and adjoining Thane.
On Tuesday evening, the family set off once again after they were told that a woman who looked like Shabnam had been recovered from the debris. “In the evening, a woman’s body was recovered. The locals, who are also helping me in tracing Shabnam, came running to me saying that the body has been sent to IGM hospital and she looked like my sister. But when I went to the hospital, it turned out to be Nidhi Shaikh, another resident,” said Nilofer.
The fact that Shabnam’s namesake, eight-year-old Shabnam Mohamed Ali Shaikh, has died in the incident, has further compounded the problem.
Dr Raju Muskawad from IGM hospital said, “We are trying to locate her since Monday. We have reached out to many ambulance drivers who were ferrying patients and bodies, but to no avail.”
Meanwhile, the relatives of those who are still feared trapped under the debris, have set up base around the collapse spot to monitor search operations. Many of them are troubled over the time it has taken the officials to sift through the rubble.
Saira Qureshi, whose sister-in-law Parveen is trapped under the debris, said: “I don’t know what these rescuers are up to. It’s been more than 40 hours, still they have not been able to find her. They are stopping the operation frequently. My nephew and niece are also under the debris.”
“Since morning, we have been waiting and whenever a body is brought out, we rush towards the ambulance to check whether it’s of Parveen or her two children,” she added.
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