Rana Plaza survivors still in desperate condition

On the second anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster a poll conducted by ActionAid in Bangladesh found that most survivors are still experiencing physical and mental problems and that many are struggling economically, despite receiving initial monetary handouts while full compensation is decided.

On 24 April 2013, 1,135 garment workers were killed and 2,515 were either physically injured or traumatized in Bangladesh’s worst ever industrial accident when the Rana Plaza garment factory complex collapsed.

ActionAid’s survey of 1,414 survivors – 915 women and 499 men – found that:

    • The medical condition of 1 in 5 (22 per cent) has worsened.

    • While 7 in 10 (70 per cent) report that they are ‘somewhat’ recovered, the majority, 61 per cent still need regular medical attention.

  • Over half (59 per cent) still suffer from depression and trauma.

  • Less than 1 in 10 (6 per cent) are fully recovered.

     

The survey also found that:

  • Over half (55 per cent) remain unemployed and despite compensation payments face severe economic difficulties.

  • Of those who are working, three quarters (76 per cent) earn less than the equivalent of US$ 3 a day. Subject to exchange rate fluctuations, it is estimated that a living wage in Bangladesh should be the equivalent of US$10 a day (Bangladesh taka 828).

     

Farah Kabir, Country Director of ActionAid Bangladesh, said: "The situation of survivors has worsened over the last year. Physically and mentally they are in bad shape. Neither do the majority go to work.

“Government, factory owners, the big brands and other partners should work together and take greater responsibility to help survivors and the families of those who died, so that they can get on with their lives.”

Compensation payments remain a big issue with survivors and the families of those who died. 

Depending on injury and impact on families, minimum compensation per person was recommended at 1 million Bd taka or US$ 12,500. Yet so far, approximately 3,600 people have received just Bd taka 90,000 each, US$ 1,125, as holding payments to cover loss of income and emergency support.

Emergency holding payments are not compensation and all the survivors ActionAid spoke to claim they are still waiting their full compensation packages.

On the basis of the survey findings, ActionAid says that full and realistic compensation packages should be urgently dispersed to address the mid and long-term needs of survivors and the families of those who died. Additionally, more health and livelihood support is required so that survivors can resume normal life and work.

Furthermore, ActionAid says that it is important to maintain momentum towards reforming national labour regulations and in upgrading industry audits – ensuring factories follow safety guidelines. ActionAid says that this requires a high level coordination between the Bangladesh government, NGOs, trade union, brands and manufacturers.

ActionAid has engaged with the survivors since day one with rescue and humanitarian work, partnered with institutions to extend support in the form of psychological counseling, livelihood reintegration, entrepreneurship development and compensation.

ENDS

Editors' notes

Press contact: Sheikh.Manjur@actionaid.org

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