Tearful families pray for Indian workers trapped in tunnels

Tearful families pray for Indian workers trapped in tunnels

Indian authorities have repeatedly promised the safety of the 41 men trapped in a collapsed tunnel in the Himalayas for more than two weeks, but desperate relatives say they are pinning their hopes on prayers.

“Our only source of strength is God. He is our last hope,” said Musarat Jahan, a mother of three. Her husband, Mohd Saba Ahmad, is a migrant worker trapped under tons of rubble, concrete and earth in harsh conditions. cold mountain air.

“We believe in God above all else,” she said by phone from her home in the eastern state of Bihar, one of India’s poorest regions.

Most of the trapped men are migrant workers who left their homes to find work in the Silk Yala Tunnel in northern Uttarakhand state in the forested Himalayan foothills, more than 870 kilometers from Bihar state.

Jahan said she spoke to her husband through a telephone exchange set up inside the tunnel with the help of her brother-in-law, who was camping at the site shortly after the Nov. 12 accident.

“My husband assured me that he was safe and expected to come out soon,” she said.

Rescue efforts have suffered repeated setbacks, including concerns of more falling debris and repeated failures of excavators after colliding with metal girders trapped in rubble.

On Monday, military engineers began digging the final section by hand.

– ‘Sleepless night’ –
Griya Devi could not stop crying as she thought of her husband, Sushil Kumar (31).

Mrs Devi said she was glued to her phone searching for new information as the rescue operation entered its third week.

“We are crying and spending sleepless nights… but we are still hopeful that the rescue team will make the operation a success,” she said.

Last week, workers were seen alive for the first time looking through the lens of an endoscopic camera sent by rescue workers into the narrow pipes that carry air, food and water.

Authorities say the men are healthy and safe.

Abhishek Kumar, whose brother Sonu Shah is also trapped, said he couldn’t wait to hear the news of his release.

– “Problems are increasing” –
But the delay in getting good news has been traumatic, he told AFP by phone from his home in Bihar’s Saran district.

“Our wait times are getting longer and our patience is stretched thin,” he said.

“We are currently awaiting the final results,” he said. “All’s well that ends well.”

The rescue mission has been an ordeal for the family, with no imminent end in sight.

Mr Kumar said the lack of success in the effort was a “grave concern”.

“There seem to be increasing difficulties and problems in getting them safely out,” he said.

He said the family’s hopes had already been dashed after officials said they had hoped the situation would be resolved in the next few hours, but now it will be delayed by several days.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami vowed that all the men would be rescued.

“Don’t worry, all the workers will be brought safely,” he said.

Source: guardian.ng

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