Bangladesh factory collapse victims no closer to recovery

Aftermath of Bangladesh factory collapse pictured. Credit: ITV News

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Six months after the world’s worst garment factory disaster at Rana Plaza in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka, victims are still awaiting compensation and suffering debilitating physical and psychological injuries that have prevented the vast majority of them from returning to work, according to new research by anti-poverty charity ActionAid.

ActionAid surveyed 2,297 people - nearly two thirds - of survivors and families of those who died in the eight-story factory collapse in April this year. It revealed 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 has stopped them going back to work.

  • Ninety-two per cent of survivors reported being deeply traumatized, with around half experiencing insomnia and trembling from loud sounds. Some said they were scared to walk into a building or an enclosed room.

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.

In addition to physical and psychological trauma, the research showed that victims are facing severe financial difficulties. They urgently need food, medical treatment and household essentials. Yet over 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 any compensation to survivors – approximately £115 each to 3300 victims. The Bangladesh government has given £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.

To donate to ActionAid’s Bangladesh factory collapse appeal click here.