These Survivors Made it Through Horrors… Now, We’re Sharing Their Harrowing Stories

Approximately 100 hostages had been released by the terrorist group Hamas as of December 1 when a weeklong truce ended.

The world has heard horror stories from many of them. Dealing with both the savagery of their capture and treatment they received while in captivity.

The only thing holding some freed hostages back from revealing more Hamas atrocities is the fact that a loved one is still a prisoner.

The hostages were fed only a small portion of what they needed to maintain health. They were kept mostly in the dark, including in tunnels. And forced to sit in silence for countless hours. 

Israeli Hostages Kept in the Dark 

Some 240 hostages were taken during the Hamas invasion of Israel. Ranging in age from infants to octogenarians. More than one-half are either still prisoners or have died.

The plight of Palestinians caught in the crosshairs has been well documented. But little mention is made of the fact that Hamas has not allowed the Red Cross to visit their hostages. 

So far, most of the released hostages have been women, children, and foreign workers. The ones remaining are kept in several locations. And they’re being held by different groups. 

Some were and are being kept in tunnels five stories underground. Lights are turned on for only two hours per day.

Children Moved From House to House

These hostages are learning what life with little food and water is like. And that includes a girl named Emily, who turned 9 in November. 

She, her friend, and her friend’s mother were held above ground in houses. They were moved frequently to avoid the fighting between Israeli forces and Hamas soldiers. 

One group of independent researchers says between 40 and 50% of the houses in Gaza have been damaged by the war. 

After Emily was freed on the 50th day of her captivity, she told her father she thought she had been gone for a year. In just seven weeks, she had been conditioned to keep quiet. So her first few conversations once released were in whispers.

Freed Hostages Show Malnutrition

Some hostages said at first they were fed a decent amount of food. But the worse things got above ground, the less they were fed. 

Many freed hostages are intentionally limiting their food intake for now to allow their shrunken stomachs to recover. 

The obvious weight loss of returning hostages and pale skin are indications they did not receive nearly enough food and water. 

Most returned with insect bites and some with cases of head lice. Others including an 84-year-old woman had wounds from handcuffs and being dragged from one place to another. Somehow, many survived with little food. 

A Wilderness Survival Story

Another survival story comes from a 58-year-old man named Mike Vilhauer, lost in the wilderness in California for five days.

It began as a fishing trip at Lower Sunset Lake in Alpine County. When the fish weren’t biting, he decided to try to capture grasshoppers to use as bait. 

But that effort up and down a mountain proved fruitless. And when he was unable to find his fishing site, he slept under a pine tree. His cellphone couldn’t pick up a signal.

With no food and little water except what he found in occasional puddles, his body quickly weakened. That’s when he called on his “survivor man” instincts.

On the Verge of Giving Up

He found a stream and followed it for a while, only to learn that it dead-ended. Now encountering animals including bears, a wolverine, and deer, he built a shelter under a large rock.

Rain gave him the water he needed to stay alive. But his hunger was fierce. Exhaustion set in. He was about to give up. 

“I thought, ‘You know what? I’m done. This is it.’” But then he said to himself, “No, I’m not going to give up.”

After returning to the stream, he was finally spotted by rescuers in a helicopter. Somehow, he had survived with virtually no food.   

Trapped in Collapsed Factory for 16 Days 

Think about how hungry and thirsty you feel after doing lots of strenuous work with little to no food or water. It’s pretty rough, right? 

Now imagine going 16 days with little food or water. Your only thought at that point is survival.

That’s what happened with a woman named Reshma Begum. She was trapped in the rubble after a factory collapsed in Bangladesh. 

When rescuers pulled her out on the 17th day, she was barely alive. But doctors were able to resuscitate her and reunite her with her family. 

7 Years Later, She’s Feeding Others 

She was able to survive on a small amount of food and water. On the final two days of her ordeal, Reshma had only water.

She told a local TV station from her hospital bed that she had been rationing water and was close to running out when she was rescued.

Reporters caught up with her seven years later to check in. She and her family are healthy and happy. The former garment worker is now an employee at a 5-star hotel called the Westin Dhaka.

Her husband owns a shop dealing in mobile phone accessories and mobile banking services. During the pandemic, she and her husband fed some 400 needy people.

This is a family that would not exist if it were not for Reshma’s determination and survival instincts.

Leave a comment

*Required Fields