ActionAid Say Little Has Been Done to Help Rana Plaza Victims
The survey comes as the Bangladesh government along with the global alliance of trade unions continue to negotiate compensation for survivors and families of the deceased.
ActionAid surveyed 2297 people – nearly two thirds of survivors and families of those who died in the eight-storey factory collapse on 24 April this year. The study reveals that:
- Ninety-four per cent reported they have not received any legal benefits from their employers since April, including sick pay or compensation.
- Ninety-two per cent of survivors have not gone back to work.
- Of these, 63 per cent said physical injury such as amputations, paralysis, severe pains in the head, leg and body have stopped them going back to work.
- Ninety-two per cent of survivors reported being deeply traumatized, with over half experiencing insomnia and trembling from loud sounds. Some said they were scared to walk into a building or an enclosed room.
Twenty-one-year-old Naznin Akhter Nazma, who was pregnant when pulled from the rubble and lost her husband in the collapse said: “The day before the factory collapsed we heard that a crack had developed on the second floor, but the supervisor announced that the building was safe and threatened to withhold a month’s pay if we didn’t attend work.
“My husband worked on the second floor and I on the seventh floor. When the building collapsed I was unconscious for two hours. When I regained consciousness I found out that my husband was gone forever.
“I heaved a sigh of relief when the doctor said my unborn baby was ok, but now I am worried that I can’t provide for my child. I haven’t had any compensation. My rent is five months overdue and soon shop keepers will stop giving me credit for food.”
In addition to physical and psychological trauma, the report reveals that victims are facing severe financial difficulty. Food, medical treatment and household essentials were identified as immediate needs. Yet almost half of those surveyed said they had mounting debts and over 90 per cent said they had no savings, due to low wages before the factory collapse.
To date only one company, Primark, has provided financial support to survivors – approximately £118 each to 3300 people. The Bangladesh government has given up to £18,000 each to 777 people – around a third of the victims and their family members – but no long-term compensation package has been agreed.
Farah Kabir, ActionAid’s Country Director in Bangladesh said: “It’s indefensible that for six months, multi-million dollar companies have left the victims to fend for themselves.
“While corporations sit on their hands, the victims of the Rana Plaza disaster are in urgent need of medical and psychological support, as well as the financial means to feed and care for their families.”
ActionAid is calling on companies negotiating the compensation package to deliver a fair deal for the survivors and families of the deceased. The aid agency is also calling on companies to sign up to The Bangladesh Safety Accord, a five-year legally binding agreement between international labour organisations, non-governmental organisations and retailers to maintain minimum safety standards in the Bangladesh textile industry.