Thu, Apr 25, 2019 9:09

Rana Plaza victims still bear trauma


A majority of the victims of the tragedy at Rana Plaza, the multi-story building which collapsed six years ago, are still suffering from trauma while some are yet to recover from injuries.

A majority of the victims of the tragedy at Rana Plaza, the multi-story building which collapsed six years ago, are still suffering from trauma while some are yet to recover from injuries.

They had initially received some assistance in the days following the incident but are presently devoid of any help in their bid to overcome their troubles, the victims lamented.

The multi-story Rana Plaza building next to the Savar bus stop collapsed on April 24, 2013, killing 1,175 workers and injuring over 2,000 others.

Different workers' and social organizations have arranged programs in front of the fallen building to commemorate the sixth anniversary of the tragedy on Wednesday. 

Shila Begum, 31, used to work as an operator at Ither Text Factory, housed on the sixth floor of Rana Plaza along with many others.   

She had been working there for around two years, Shila told. 

"I had been providing for my family fairly well until the building collapsed and put my life in tatters." 

Shila was buried under the debris for nearly 18 hours after the building collapsed until rescuers finally reached her. 

She was then admitted to a hospital.

"Initially, I received some money but that wasn't enough to pay for my treatment cost. My child's education is halted now due to a lack of money. We're barely managing to make ends meet. I've even had to stop my own treatment due to financial constraints," said Shila. 

Rowshan Ara, 35, also worked at the same factory. 

"How can I pay the cost of my treatment when I can't work? I have admitted my two children to an orphanage because of my poverty. My husband is a rickshaw-puller and has been providing as much as he can for my treatment. I'm not getting enough treatment and on top of that, I have to undergo chemotherapy," she said.

"Journalists come to visit us on the anniversary of the incident. But those responsible for the incident never visit us or even make any queries about us. Caritas, an NGO, wanted to provide me with a cow which I never got. I have to take chemo for as long as I live," said a frustrated Rowshan Ara. 

Salma Begum, 28, worked at the New Style Factory, situated on the eighth floor of the crumbled building. 

"A beam fell on my wrist and fractured my spine during the collapse. It happened in the morning. The rescuers pulled me out in the evening," she said.

"I found myself in the hospital when I recovered my senses. I got some money but that was not enough to pay for my treatment cost. 

My husband Bakkar left me when I fell sicker.

She continued: "Now I can't continue my treatment due to a lack of money. I am only living on the basis of the free-of-cost therapy they provide in the CRP. The doctor said that I can never work again in my life. Then what will I do!" 

Mahmudul Hasan Hridoy, 32, was a worker at New Wave Style, a factory on the eighth floor of Rana Plaza.

"The building collapsed merely 14 days after I started the job. All my happiness was buried under it. I was rescued 20 hours after the building disintegrated. I'm almost crippled now with injuries to my spine," he said.

"I couldn't avail proper treatment with the meager help I got immediately after the incident," said Mahmudul Hasan. 

"Now I run a small pharmacy at Chhayabithi in the municipal area. I can just sit there and pass my time." 

Hasan formed 'Savar Rana Plaza Survivors Association of Bangladesh' with 300 other injured workers.

"I'm the president of the association but we don't have any capital. We just have a piggy bank and we put whatever we can in it. We break the bank under special circumstances."

The collapse of Rana Plaza is one of the biggest industrial catastrophes in recent times. 

The army, police, RAB, fire service personnel and the ordinary citizens participated in the rescue efforts. 

The building housed a number of readymade garment factories, a bank, and some shops. 

A warning was issued prior to the disaster as cracks had appeared on the building. 

But the readymade garment factories ignored the warning and continued operations.