Oxygen, water and food are crucial to survival, but over and above that, it’s grit and a determination to live that often leads to survivors being found days after a disaster, say doctors.

If the respiratory centre in the body is not cut off, there are no injuries, and oxygen is available, then a person can survive without food and water for between three and five days, said Sai Surendar, emergency consultant at Global Health City and one of the doctors who participated in the rescue effort at Moulivakkam.

“The next priority is water. The survivors we found were all severely dehydrated and hypoglycaemic so they needed to be hydrated and given glucose immediately for them to live,” he said.

Also, the younger you are, the greater the chances of survival. But the will to live sometimes eclipses all these factors.“It has to do with how you think. If you believe you want to live and you have something to live for and keep going, sometimes that is enough to keep you alive,” Dr. Surendar said.

More In: Chennai