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Giant fire destroys another garment factory in Dhaka

A huge fire has destroyed another Bangladesh garment factory supplying key Western brands in the Gazipur district of Dhaka, authorities said. There were no initial reports of casualties.

Smoke rises from a fire burning at a Standard Group garment factory in Gazipur Credit: REUTERS/Andrew Biraj

As many as 18,000 people worked at the factory, which is among the ten biggest in the country, but all employees had reportedly left by the time the fire broke out in the early hours of this morning.

Head of firefighting operations, Mahbubur Rahman, said he believed the fire had been started by some of the workers.

The head of firefighters said he believed it may have been arson Credit: REUTERS/Andrew Biraj

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The Dhaka factory survivors still waiting for help

In the weeks after the world's worst clothing factory disaster in Bangladesh, Western firms promised to compensate the families of those killed, and to help the survivors.

But ITV News has found that many victims have had little or no direct money or support.

Six months on, the dead are still being identified, and their families are struggling to survive.

ITV News Business Editor Laura Kuenssberg has returned to Dhaka in Bangladesh:

Workers' concerns about crack 'ignored by employer'

One of the survivors Action Aid has spoke to recalls how workers raised concerns about a crack in the building the day before it collapsed.

Naznin Akhter Nazma, 20, who was pregnant when pulled from the rubble and lost her husband in the collapse, told the charity:

The day before the factory collapsed we heard that a crack had developed on the second floor, we were told 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.

Lack of compensation from western firms 'indefensible'

A charity that has been working with victims of the Bangladesh building collapse has described the lack of compensation from western brands supplied by the factory as "indefensible".

Farah Kabir, ActionAid’s Country Director in Bangladesh said:

It’s indefensible that for nearly six months, multi million pound companies have left 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.

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Survey reveals personal impact of factory collapse

ActionAid has said that the victims of the Rana Plaza building collapse have been left with debilitating physical and psychological injuries, preventing nearly all of them from returning to work.

The charity surveyed almost 2,300 people - around two thirds of all the survivors and families affected - and found that of those surveyed:

  • 94% have not received any legal benefits from their employers, including sick pay or compensation
  • More than half have mounting debts and less than 10% had savings
  • 92% of survivors have not gone back to work
  • Of these, 63% said that physical injuries have prevented them from returning to work
  • 92% of survivors reported being traumatised, with around half experiencing insomnia and trembling from loud sounds

Primark 'committed to paying compensation'

A Primark spokesman said:

Primark takes its responsibilities extremely seriously.

To help alleviate short-term hardship, the company is committed to paying six months wages to more than 3,500 Rana Plaza workers, or their families, irrespective of whether they made clothes at Primark’s supplier or for other major high street names.

Primark is also committed to delivering long-term compensation to the workers employed by its supplier as soon as possible, irrespective of whether other high street names feel able to do the same.

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