Under the rubble

Suvra Kanti Das

2013 - Ongoing

The economy of Bangladesh is entirely depends on the Garments sector and the proportion is 80%. But the salary of a garments worker is less than $50 USD per month.

Mainly garments workers are come from villages and lives in slums in different part of town. They earn very small amount of money as tk. 4000-5000 only. Within this small amount they have to manage their live hood including feeding his family members, giving house rent, transport cost, cost of clothes etc.

Normally, in a factory or Garments has 8 working hours but in Bangladesh most of them have to work 10-12hours. A garments worker have to attend his factory within 8am so that they have to hire a room near the factory where four to five huddle in a room and spend life in sub human condition. In that situation they are using one common latrine and a kitchen. And the total cost of this sub human condition is Tk=2000-2500.They share this amount among themselves to minimize their expense for live hood. After laborious job they come into their roost, cook their food and have their dinner or lunch in unhygienic floor or bed and sleep where they take their food. They share the single bed or sleep on the floor.

In the 24th April 2013, the 8th stored Rana Plaza collapsed at Shavar, Dhaka. The Rana Plaza that has four garments, a bank, and commercial shops including electronics, clothes, collapsed in the morning around 8.30 AM, hour after garment workers were forced to join work. The shops and the bank on the lower floors immediately closed after cracks were discovered in the building. Warnings to avoid using the building after cracks appeared the day before had been ignored. The search for the dead ended on 13 May with the death toll of 1,133. Approximately 2,500 injured people were rescued from the building alive. Among of the dead bodies, it was impossible to identify 291 bodies. 300 people are still missing and approximate 45 people lost their hand or leg. Their hand or leg amputated inside the rubble by general rescue worker using butcher knives or hacksaws blade and without anesthesia to free the workers who were trapped under the rubble of Rana Plaza.

It is considered to be the deadliest garment-factory accident in history, as well as the deadliest accidental structural failure in modern human history. Volunteer rescue workers used bolts of fabric to assist survivors to escape from the building.

Aroti (16 years old garments worker) was stuck in under the rubble of the collapsed building for three days before being rescued. It was dark and full with dust, two other bodies were pressing on her right leg with a pillar on top. There was not a single inch to move; it was hot, difficult to breathe and not a single drop of water to drink. After 72 hours when she was pulled out from the rubble, the doctors realized that they need to amputate her right leg to save her life. Her mother also worked in one of the garment industries that collapsed. Although Aroti was rescued but her mother had lost her life. Now she is left with three sisters who depended on her and her mother’s income. The youngest is only two years old who still cries searching for her mother. Her father is a day laborer fears for the future of her daughter.

The injured people are still fighting for survive. They don’t know what will be happen in the future. Most of them still now admitted in the hospital.

The relatives of the missing people still come in front of the collapsed building and they believe that one day their son, daughter or parents will return in home.

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  • Clothing bearing a label that reads "Kollektion" from inside of the collapsed Rana Plaza. Savar, near Dhaka, Bangladesh

  • Dead body of a garments worker lay inside of the truck, Savar, near Dhaka, Bangladesh

  • Shokhina with her husband Motin at Anam Medical College Hospital corridor. She worked in 6th floor at Rana Plaza and her both leg is seriously injured. Savar, Bangladesh.

  • Bobita's sister and brother mourn for Bobita. Bobita found dead after the 16th days of building collapse. Savar, near Dhaka, Bangladesh

  • Doctor carry a worker found alive inside the rubble of Rana Plaza at Savar, near Dhaka, Bangladesh

  • Crowds gather at the collapsed Rana Plaza building as people rescue garment workers trapped in the rubble. Shavar. near Dhaka, Bangladesh

  • Sister of missing victim of Savar tragedy Nasima Akter weeps as she takes part in a sit-in and deliver tribute to the unidentified victims of Savar tragedy at Jurain Graveyard in the capital Dhaka, Bangladesh

  • Mariyam and Laboni with their artificial hand, Savar, Bangladesh. Mariyam had her right arm amputated to free her from the rubble when she was rescued nearly 72 hours after the building collapsed and . Laboni had her left amputated inside the rubble when she was rescued nearly 36 hours after the building collapsed. Savar, near Dhaka, Bangladesh

  • Rescuers carry the body of a victim of Rana Plaza building collapse at Savar, near Dhaka, Bangladesh.

  • Bangladeshi garment workers and relatives of victims of the Rana Plaza building collapse hold candles during a memorial at the site of the Rana Plaza garment factory building collapse in Savar, on the outskirts of Dhaka on October 24, 2013, the six-month anniversary of the disaster. Savar, near Dhaka, Bangladesh

  • Photograph of Asma Akhter, a missing Rana Plaza garments worker, washed-out in the rain. Adhar Chandra High School wall, Savar, near Dhaka, Bangladesh

  • After 15 days of Rana Plaza collapse, rescue worker found a garments worker dead body from the inside of the collapsed building. Savar, near Dhaka, Bangladesh

  • Shaheena is finally out of the building, but not alive. Rescuers on Sunday made a frantic effort to pull out Shaheena from the rubble of the collapsed Rana Plaza. She was alive then. The operation had to be suspended after a fire broke out at the site that day. Her death came as a great shock to everyone at the disaster site. Savar, near Dhaka, Bangladesh

  • A woman shows a portrait of her missing daughter, believed trapped in the rubble following the collapse of an an eight-storey building Rana Plaza in Sava, near Dhaka, Bangladesh

  • Bangladeshi garment worker Aroti, 16, who worked on the 5th floor of Rana Plaza, at Enam Medical College Hospital, Savar, Bangladesh. Aroti had her right leg amputated in hospital when she was rescued from the rubble nearly 72 hours after the building collapsed. Savar, near Dhaka, Bangladesh

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