Some 48 percent of the survivors of Rana Plaza collapse are still unemployed, three years after the deadly industrial catastrophe, due to physical inability and mental trauma, a recent survey by ActionAid Bangladesh suggests.
The findings of the study titled ‘Three Years into Rana Plaza Collapse: Progress of Apparel Sector’ was published at a function on the city in Saturday.
The report said 59 percent of the workers who survived the devastating industrial accident are suffering from mental illness and most of the survivors are now reluctant to work in garment factories.
Only five percent of the survivors have expressed interests in working in RMG factories, while 79 percent are interested in sell-arranged businesses, the study also finds.
The study report said the amount of compensations was not enough for the victims and the compensation scheme did not address the physical and mental trauma most of the victims have been suffering since the disaster.
“Now I don’t want go back to garment factories as I still can’t forget the disaster. I’ve received a total of Tk 1.45 lakh as compensation in three phases which helped me little. I am suffering from mental trauma and I could not complete my treatment,” Rana Plaza survivor Nazma Akhtar said at the event.
The survey collected information from 1,300 Rana Plaza victims aged between 21 years and 30 years, and from 500 families of the deceased workers.
The report said 20 percent of the survivors have two dependant family members while 23 percent have four dependants. Of their current income, 61 percent is spent on food, 16 percent on housing and only 8 percent is spent for treatment. Chairperson of Ain O Shalish Kendra Hamida Hossain said the compensations so far provided to the workers can’t actually be called compensations. “They need long-term support to overcome their physical and mental trauma,” Hamida Hossain said.
Additional research director of Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Dr Khandker Golam Moazzem observed that the support so far provided was partial and the assistance provided for jobs and rehabilitation is less than what is required.
“The compensations offered in phases did not pay off and the activities of different organizations to this end should be coordinated for a better outcome,” he added.
Referring to the steps taken by the government following the Rana Plaza disaster, Inspector General of the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments Syed Ahmed called upon the factory owners to come forward to ensure workers’ safety as only inspections or lawsuits won’t deliver the expected welfare for the victims.
ActionAid country director Farah Kabir also spoke on the occasion.