Relatives throng hospitals to look for missing kin

By Anjali Ojha, IANS
Tuesday, November 16, 2010

NEW DELHI - The wall at the gate of LNJP Hospital’s emergency ward is plastered with pictures of the dead… every now and then comes a wail as searching relatives discover the face of their missing kin among the dead.

For those looking for their relatives who lived in the east Delhi building which collapsed the night before, Tuesday for them has been rushing from one hospital to another.

Some others search through the list of injured with the hope of finding the name of their kin.

Puja, a housewife, was hoping to find her 17-year-old sister-in-law among the injured. She found her picture among the dead displayed outside the hospital.

“We had been looking for her since last night, just now I identified her picture here,” she said wailing.

The building in Lalita Park area of Laxmi Nagar, which collapsed Monday night, had nearly 50 families, mostly migrants from West Bengal and Bihar living in it.

At least 65 people were killed and 130 injured in the collapse. However, those who lived in the building or had relatives residing there claim that many are still missing.

Sukhdev, whose sister and brother-in-law sustained serious injuries, says that over 200 people were there in the building when it collapsed.

“There was water in the basement, the three lower floors sank while the upper two floors collapsed and fell in the nearby park,” he said.

J.K. Pandey from Bihar is searching for members of his sister’s family who lived in the building.

“Three of them are critically injured. We are still looking for my sister’s brother-in-law,” he said.

“Earlier, we lived in the slums at Laxmi Nagar before they were demolished,” said Pandey, adding that the low rents of the building made them choose to stay there.

The hospital staff had a tough time keeping the families of victims from entering the wards to search for their kin, or providing information.

“They are not allowing us in. Can you help us please, we want to look for our people,” said middle-aged Shyamali who was there looking for her uncle’s family hailing from West Bengal.

Naresh from Saharsa in Bihar was looking for two of his room mates, Ravinder and Paltan. He was trying to persuade the guard at the door of the ward to let him in.

“I want to see if they are there. We have been looking for them all the while,” said Naresh. “Five of us were living there, one had gone home. I and another room mate were out. Now we are trying to find the missing ones.”

The guard outside the ward allowed some people to slip in for a while to meet their injured relatives.

“The doctors are tending to the injured, how can we allow any one in. Yet we are letting one or two go in once in a while,” the guard said.

Hospital authorities, meanwhile, maintained that they were doing their best to help in identification of the injured and the dead.

“We have put the list of all injured with their names and sex mentioned; 28 injured are admitted at present. The first list was in fact put out at 1 in the night,” Prof. Amit Banerjee, Medical Superintendent of LNJP hospital, told IANS.

“Of the 41 dead, 40 are unidentified. The faces of the dead are being photographed and displayed so that the relatives can identify,” he said.

However, it was a nightmare for those running from one hospital to another trying to locate their loved ones.

“I first went to Hedgewar Hospital; there they asked me to come to LNJP. Then I was told to go to Lal Bahadur Shastri Hospital,” said Vaishali Sharma from Faridabad who is looking for her maternal aunt’s family.

“We just want to find them, but are running around,” she

Filed under: Accidents and Disasters

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