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23 Apr 2022

Najifa Farhat, Dhaka Tribune

Bangladesh: Rana Plaza survivors face stigma & ceased treatment services, nine years after the collapse

"Rana Plaza survivors: Alive and accursed", 23 April 2022


This correspondent talked to eight female workers ahead of the anniversary of the Rana Plaza collapse…

Of the eight, only one woman had got support from her husband, while the other husbands abandoned the women at different times, mainly because of the physical challenges faced by the women...

The spread of myth, misconception and misinformation in the aftermath of the tragedy is taking a toll on the survivors who are going through a dejected life.

"The assistance that we got from the government went completely on my treatment. People have a perception that the victims of Rana Plaza are billionaires. Wherever we go, if we ask for work or help, everyone will say that we're filthy rich. Even the public hospitals refuse to give us treatment," said Salma, 32, another victim of the tragedy...

One of the organizations that assisted patients of the Rana Plaza tragedy for a long time in helping them do away with the scars of the incident was the Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP) of Savar.

Apart from treatment, selected victims of the tragedy were assisted with rehabilitation and livelihood integration through several programs till 2020.

Over 3,000 victims have received treatment from CRP over the course of seven years. However, now they have closed down their specific services and funds for the Rana Plaza victims, but they are allowed to take services as regular patients.

Mosleh Uddin Howlader, the coordinator of the Community Rehabilitation Program of CRP, said: "We have done enough with all of our resources to help the victims. But still, there is an end to everything. We closed our project about Rana Plaza victims before Covid and now our attention is needed somewhere else."

He mentioned that those who survived got various forms of assistance from a lot of donors but the families of those who died have been left ailing.

"People come to us a lot of time asking for free treatment, saying their parents or spouses died in the tragedy and now they're left penniless..." he added.

The government gave compensation money to the families of the dead workers up to Tk10 lakh each. However, that money was divided as a fixed deposit against multiple members of a family, so ultimately the amount was not very sufficient…

A trust fund has been set up for the Rana Plaza victims for their treatment but it is inadequate for their families.

The Rana Plaza Survivors Association, an organization run by surviving victims, bore the cost of the procedure.

The president of the organization, Mahmudul Hasan Hridoy, said that the organization had helped with burying family members of the victims in different parts of the country.

“No non-governmental organization (NGO) or government was willing to assist those families. We manage this organization with aid from people who are willing to help us. It has been going on like this," he added.