Eid brings no joy for Rana Plaza victims, families

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The injured workers of the Rana Plaza garment factories and relatives of the missing and deceased victims stage a sit-in in front of the collapsed building in Savar from 3:00pm to 8:00pm yesterday as part of their continuous demonstration for payment of salaries from May, bonus, compensation and rehabilitation before Eid-ul-Fitr

When most people around him are preparing to celebrate the Eid festival, Niru Sardar, a garment worker who lost the left eye in the Rana Plaza collapse, is fighting a battle for survival.
The 30-year-old sewing machine operator sold off a piece of land at his village home in Rajbari sadar upazila and spent the money for treatment for his wounded eye, nose, and head.
His four-member family is now totally dependent on charities for housing and food, as he has almost lost the capacity to work and needs more treatment, including a nose surgery.
With the hope to get some financial assistance, Niru came to Garment Workers’ Trade Union Centre in Genda, near Savar, where some donations arrived for the victims yesterday.
A total of Tk 2,000 is all he got there. Niru told The Daily Start that he did not receive any aid either from the government or the garment factory owners association, BGMEA, other than Tk 15,000 as his salaries.
Asked about his Eid plan, Niru said, “I cannot manage milk and barley for my four-month-old daughter. What will Eid mean to me?”
The baby was born four days before the nine-storey Rana Plaza in Savar crumbled on April 24, killing 1,132 people and leaving hundreds of others, including Niru, maimed or injured.
Six hours after he was pulled out alive from the rubble, Niru was sent to a local clinic before being shifted to the National Institute of Eye Science and Hospital at the capital’s Sher-e-Bangla Nagar.
He had been treated there for 51 days and then returned to his home in Savar.
“I didn’t get any financial help from anyone. I was at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, and none visited me there or extended any help. But I have heard that many people helped the victims,” Niru said.
The story of Sakina, another garment worker at Rana Plaza, is no different, if not worse.
The 30-year-old had bought clothes and foods for her family during the Eid festival for the last few years. After the Rana Plaza disaster, even her body vanished.
“What Eid will we celebrate? With whom? My daughter will never come back,” wailed her mother Hanufa Begum before the Rana Plaza site where hundreds of victims and their relatives have been demonstrating for arrears, bonus, compensation and rehabilitation, blocking the Dhaka-Aricha highway for the last three days.
“She is no more. Even I can’t see her body,” a tearful Hanufa told The Daily Star.
There are many more like Hanufa who are yet to receive any aid because bodies of many victims were not identified though over three months have passed since the collapse.
Mannan Kochi, vice-president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), said the government was working to identify the victims through DNA tests, and the matter of compensation for families of the missing would come after that.
Official estimates say around 300 victims remain unidentified, while as per claims of the families of the victims, the number of the missing stands at 329.
According to rescue officials, 3,553 people had been trapped in the debris of Rana Plaza which housed several garment units. Of them, 2,438 people were pulled out alive. In later days, some survivors succumbed to their injuries, raising the death toll to 1,132 so far. Among the deceased, around 300 were buried unidentified.

Source: The Daily Star

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