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Mumbra building collapse: No dignity for the dead in rescue operations

Many of those who died in the Mumbra building collapse were denied dignity in death when rescue officials and authorities dug up bodies from the debris with the aid of JCBs.

Photos: Man-made mayhem shocks Mumbra

Mumbra building collapse
Pic/Sameer Markande

Photographs from yesterday’s search operations give unmistakable evidence of the dehumanised send-offs given to victims. Instead of being handled with respect and care, several victims were dug out of debris by JCBs. And while officials try to square the blame on others, MiD DAY questions if it’s time our officials need to change their ways and are given the right kind of training to deal with the bodies.

Photos: Similar disasters that took place in Mumbai

Experts say:

>> We take maximum precautions during rescue operations to treat the dead in a sensitive manner. But sometimes, an untoward incident occurs. But, no one does it intentionally. - S V Joshi, chief fire officer, BMC

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>> In every disaster, rescue personnel are trying to save the lives of those in need. No doubt, the body should have been handled with care but this incident of the body being dug out by a JCB is a mistake and was not done intentionally. It is understood that a body should be treated with respect. The officials on the spot should have covered it with a white cloth and taken it to a hospital. - Official from BMC disaster management cell

>> Using JCBs and bulldozers to dig out people trapped in debris is a very unscientific method. When the rescue operators saw this, they should have immediately halted work and should have manually lifted the body. The need of the hour is officials and volunteers in rescue operations should be given specific training and precautions should be taken while pulling out victims. - Dr Ketan Vagholkar, professor of surgery, DY Patil Medical College

>> It is of utmost importance that locals who volunteer in rescue operations during such incidents be given basic training in handling victims. Special care should be taken if victims have abdominal injuries and spinal injuries. Pulling them or handling them in a rough manner would only aggravate injuries. Sometimes due to wrong handling, victims’ injuries that can be reversed, become permanent. -  Dr Pradeep Bhosale, professor and head of the Department (Orthopaedic), KEM hospital

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