Rana Plaza Disaster: Survivors Still in Desperate Conditions

Rana PlazaNGO News Report :: Two years after the tragic Rana Plaza incident, a rather gloomy picture has been captured in a research survey conducted by the ActionAid Bangladesh. Most of the survivors are not in a good shape, be it their physical, mental and economic condition.

The survey shows that 61.2 percent of the people still need to visit doctors, clinic or NGO run facilities on regular basis. Most of them (59.1 percent) are still suffering from depression & trauma. This suggests that physical wounds may have healed in the two years, but the trauma and shock from the incident is harder to recover from.

The survey was revealed on Wednesday (22nd April) at BRAC Cnetre Inn, Bangladesh in a Multi-logue just before the second anniversary of Rana Plaza Tragedy.

ActoinAid Bangladesh has conducted the survey on 1414 survivors. Among them 915 are women & 499 are men.

Of the 1414 survivors, 70.6 percent responded that they are somewhat healed. While 22.6 percent reported that their condition is getting worse.

The survey report shows that 55 percent survivors are still unemployed. While 44 percent survivors got engaged in various types of jobs. Currently 54.4 percent respondents are facing difficulties to meet their daily needs. 2% cannot meet their daily needs at all.

In the multilogue followed by survey findings sharing, stakeholder from Govt., national & international non-govt. organization, garments owner, buyers, researchers were present.

Farah Kabir, Country Director of ActionAid Bangladesh, said, “The situation of survivors are worse. The survivors don’t go to work. Physically they are in bad situation. We should take the responsibility to help them go on with their lives. Govt., Garments Factory owners, other partners should work together”.

In the discussion, compensation was a big issue. Survey shows, in last one and half year, Rana Plaza Donor Trust Fund was set up to ensure compensation for the affected people with a preliminary target of USD 40 million, which was later fixed at USD 30 million. In cash and kind PM’s relief fund provided BDT 22,93,58,720/- out of BDT 127 crore (BDT 1270 million)(as of April 9, 2015, Press Wing of PM’s Office) Altogether USD 21.5 million was supposed to be disbursed. Current deficit USD 8.5 million.

The survivors, present in the multi-logue, claimed that they didn’t get proper compensation.

Dr. Mojtaba Kazazi, Executive Commissioner-Rana Plaza Coordination Committee, said, “We have received many letters for compensation than the actual figure. So it takes times. The compensation depends on the loss and damage of the survivors”.

Ishrafil Alam, Member, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Labor and Employment, said, “Compensation is a endless debate. After the Rana Plaza Collapse, many parties wanted to give money. But we don’t get enough”.

“Incidents can happen. But it should not be continued. Victims are not getting the justice. It needs to be addressed. We want industrialization. But we don’t want our industrialization by death like Rana Plaza”, said Mr. Ishrafil.

Md. Shahidullah Azim, Vice President, BGMEA, said, “We have been working closely with factory owners and other stake holders to ensure security of workers. We don’t want any repetition of Rana Plaza”.

“To improve the situation of survivors and garment industry of Bangladesh, most important factor is ensuring accountability. for that the govt., owners and buyers should work together”, said Mr. Tuomo Poutiainen, Programme Manager of ILO Bangladesh.

Amanur Rahman, deputy director of ActionAid Bangladesh, presented the survey findings. Survey findings suggest some initiatives. Those are; realization and delivery of full compensation is required to address the mid-term and long-term needs; further health & livelihood support to the survivors is required to resume normal life and work; a high level multi-stakeholder coordination mechanism including GO, NGO, Trade Union, Brand, Manufacturer and Development Partner should be in place to oversee the national labour regulations and compliance auditing.

This is the 3rd time follow up survey done by ActionAid Bangladesh on Rana Plaza disaster. The incident happened on 24 April 2013 where 1,129 people lost their lives and 2,515 injured people were rescued.

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