Khutbul Nissa knows she is extremely lucky to be alive. Yet, all she could do on Saturday was cry. The 65-year-old-woman who hails from Uttar Pradesh, had come to Mumbai to visit her son Jamal Shaikh, daughter-in-law Noorsabha and her three-year-old grandson Arman.
All three died when the house they lived in, collapsed on Thursday. Khutbul was found alive in the early hours of Saturday, over 24 hours after the illegal structure collapsed.
Speaking to SUNDAY MiD DAY from her hospital bed, the inconsolable woman said, “We were staying in a flat on the fourth floor of the building. For the past several hours, I thought I would die as I was almost suffocating under the debris. I am thankful to God for saving me. But there is nothing to look forward to. My family has been taken away from me.
” Her relatives who were taking care of her said her husband will soon arrive from UP to take her home. Amjad Ali, one of her relatives, said, “The family had another guest, Khalu, who had come to the flat to stay for a few days. He too died in the tragedy.”
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Meanwhile, rescue operations at the site drew to a close on Saturday with the final death toll now at 72 including 24 men, 20 women and 26 children. Alok Avasthy, National Disaster Response Force commander-in-chief, said, “The rescue operations have been completed.
The builders had used poor quality construction material. The plinth of the building itself was shallow.” In the last 24 hours, 28 bodies were removed from the debris. “On the night of April 5, once the crowd of onlookers reduced, we used extra sensitive live detectors to check for any movement within the debris,” added Avasthy.