Survivors of Bangladesh container depot fire seek compensation | News

Eyes screwed shut, streaming tears, Mohammad Salauddin recollects the second he was struck by exploding chemical substances and glass within the newest lethal catastrophe to hit Bangladesh’s handbook employees.

Greater than 40 folks had been killed and 200 injured – principally port employees and firefighters – in Saturday’s fireplace in a depot close to the southeastern port of Chittagong, which handles a lot of the nation’s readymade garments exports to the West.

Salauddin, a driver on the facility, was working to take away some containers from the neighborhood of the fireplace when a number of different chemical-filled containers exploded.

“I used to be in my driving seat when the explosion occurred. Glass and chemical substances hit my eyes, inflicting critical harm,” mentioned Salauddin, 35, as his spouse stood by his bedside in a ward stuffed with victims of the fireplace in Chittagong Medical Faculty Hospital.

“I could very doubtless have issues persevering with in my job. I can’t open my eyes nor see issues,” mentioned Salauddin, who had been working for the Dutch-Bangladesh BM Container Depot for seven years, incomes as much as 30,000 taka ($319) a month.

Salauddin mentioned he was determined for compensation as the only real earner in a household of seven.

Bangladesh’s laxity in direction of employees’ security garnered international consideration after greater than 1,100 garment employees had been killed when the eight-storey Rana Plaza collapsed in 2013.

Saturday’s blaze has as soon as once more put the highlight on the dangers confronted by low-paid employees in Bangladesh, the place at the very least 200 folks have been killed in fires in factories and different industrial settings since 2017, in response to a Reuters information company rely.

Bangladesh fire
Folks maintain a candlelight vigil in remembrance of the victims of the container depot fireplace, in capital Dhaka [File: Mohammad Ponir Hossain/Reuters]

Fireplace officers have mentioned the depot blaze might have been began by a container of hydrogen peroxide and that security laws weren’t adopted.

“A case has been filed towards eight individuals who had been instantly in command of the depot,” mentioned Ashraful Karim, a senior police official, in Sitakunda, the place the inland depot is sited, 40km (25 miles) from Chittagong metropolis.

“The proprietor of Sensible Group is just not named but when investigation finds proof towards him, he is likely to be included in that case,” he mentioned, referring to BM Container Depot’s dad or mum firm.

Shamsul Haider Siddiqui, normal supervisor of Sensible Group, mentioned the agency was investigating the causes of the fireplace and explosion.

“Hydrogen peroxide is being exported by our depot following due course of with the permission of the involved authorities,” he mentioned in an announcement.

Sensible Group has promised to pay a million taka (about $10,670) compensation for each loss of life. The federal government has additionally promised compensation and is making an inventory of the lifeless and injured.

At a sales space close to the hospital, kinfolk gave blood in order that their DNA might be used to assist establish the lifeless.

“It’s upon homeowners to make sure security of employees or anybody else in a manufacturing unit or office. Solely a gross mismanagement of hazardous supplies may trigger an accident of those proportions,” mentioned Md Sekender Ali Mina, a campaigner.

“The federal government additionally must step up its supervision of workplaces to make sure employees’ rights,” mentioned Mina, member secretary of Sramik Nirapotta Discussion board, which advocates for employees’ security.

‘Can’t proceed working’

The Thomson Reuters Basis spoke to 5 survivors and the kinfolk of two different victims, all of whom had been working within the depot when the fireplace broke out.

Minutes after firefighters arrived, an enormous explosion shook the bottom, throwing folks and containers within the air and creating an inferno, mentioned the drivers and freight handlers, all of whom sustained eye accidents. Most had been additionally burned.

Perched on a hospital mattress with a bandage round his abdomen, Mohammad Mohiuddin and his spouse had been nervous about offering for his or her three kids with out his 12,000 taka wage.

“My complete physique bought burnt, apart from eye accidents. If I don’t get my well being again, I can’t proceed working,” mentioned the 40-year-old freight handler.

“With out assist, I must starve to loss of life together with my youngsters. I anticipate compensation from each the federal government and the corporate.”

Sensible Group mentioned it would pay 600,000 taka ($6,401) in compensation for many who had been critically injured, maimed or misplaced organs.

Kids of the deceased will even get the equal of their misplaced dad or mum’s wage till maturity, Siddiqui mentioned in an announcement.

“We’re gathering information to present the cash to the precise individuals,” mentioned Bablu Kumar, a supervisor of Sensible Group, standing exterior the hospital.

Rafiq Uddin Ahmed, a burns specialist, mentioned among the survivors he had been treating had been prone to want long-term care, together with physiotherapy and therapy for trauma.

“Issues within the scars might name for cosmetic surgery,” he mentioned throughout a brief break on the hospital, the place he has been working with out respite for 3 days.

Bangladesh fire
Mourners react after their kinfolk died in a hearth on the inland container depot at Sitakunda [File: Reuters]

Some victims had been sceptical about receiving assist.

“I don’t actually anticipate any compensation as I by no means heard that victims obtain compensation,” mentioned Hasan Habib, 20, a BM Container Depot driver who earned 10,000 taka a month.

“I’ve eye accidents. I’m unable to see something. I might have lengthy relaxation and may have issues in persevering with my job except my eyes get higher.”

Historical past means that the tons of of households whose lives have been devastated by this week’s catastrophe will wrestle to get better.

One among Bangladesh’s worst industrial fires was on the Tazreen Vogue manufacturing unit on the outskirts of the capital, Dhaka, in 2012, during which 112 employees died.

Sumi Akter, 30, injured her leg fleeing the blaze.

“My husband left me after just a few months of the accident, unwilling to bear the bills of my therapy. I’m now jobless and certainly unemployable given my traumatic harm,” she mentioned.

“Some nights I get up and howl in ache.”

Akter, her sisters and oldsters – her father can’t work after his leg was crushed on a development website – depend on two brothers to supply for them.

A survivors’ fund was arrange in 2015 by manufacturers whose merchandise had been made on the manufacturing unit. However Akter missed out as a result of she was at her rural house on the time.

In 2020, dozens of survivors staged a sit-in for greater than two months exterior the nationwide press membership, demanding higher compensation and therapy.

“There was completely no response,” mentioned Asaduzzaman Asad, one of many protesters.

Bangladesh: Deadly fire and explosions at container facility | News


Fireplace and explosions hit the container facility close to the port metropolis of Chittagong, with medical doctors saying the demise toll may rise as among the injured are in crucial situation.

An enormous fireplace has swept by way of a container depot in southeastern Bangladesh, killing not less than 22 folks and injuring greater than 170, in accordance with officers.

The fireplace broke out at a container facility on Saturday night time at Sitakunda, 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the port metropolis of Chittagong, triggering a number of explosions, officers stated.

“The variety of fatalities is anticipated to rise as among the injured are in crucial situation,” Chittagong’s chief physician, Elias Chowdhury, advised the AFP information company.

Rashidul Haque, Superintendent of Police within the Chattogram district, advised Al Jazeera that the demise toll stood at 22 folks.

These injured included firefighters who had been on the scene trying to douse the blaze.

They have been harm through the secondary explosions.

(Al Jazeera)

“Some 170 folks have been injured together with not less than 40 firefighters and 10 cops. Three firefighters have been additionally killed,” stated Abul Kalam Aza, the native police chief.

The explosions shook the neighbourhood and shattered glasses of home windows of close by homes, native residents stated.

Firefighters have been nonetheless working to place out the hearth on Sunday morning, police stated.

Al Jazeera’s Tanvir Chaudhury, reporting from Dhaka, stated efforts have been ongoing to keep away from the explosion of containers containing chemical substances.

It was not instantly clear what triggered the blaze. Fireplace service officers stated they think it might have originated from a container of hydrogen peroxide and unfold rapidly to different containers.

About 5,000 containers are on the BM Inland Container Depot, which handles items for export and import, in accordance with native media.

Chaudhury stated safety measures at industrial services have improved for the reason that Rana Plaza catastrophe in 2013, however that chemical crops positioned in shut proximity to cities nonetheless posed a danger for residents in addition to employees.

Chittagong civil surgeon Mohammed Elias Hossain has urged all medical doctors within the district to assist deal with the state of affairs and referred to as for emergency blood donations.

Photos: Deadly floods cause havoc in Bangladesh, northeast India | Gallery News

Days of heavy rainfall and flooding have left dozens lifeless and tens of 1000’s stranded in lots of elements of Bangladesh and neighbouring India.

Within the northeastern Sylhet area of Bangladesh, floodwaters breached a significant embankment, inundating dozens of villages and killing a minimum of 10 individuals, native media studies stated on Sunday.

Greater than 150 roads within the area had been utterly submerged, chopping off many areas and inflicting large harm to the infrastructure, Bangladesh’s Each day Star newspaper reported.

In some areas, the floodwater had began receding on Sunday however many rivers had been nonetheless flowing above hazard ranges.

Villagers stated they’d misplaced their houses and crops as a result of flooding.

Amongst them was Rahela Khatun who stated she had suffered nice loss as she tried to clear the mud and particles from her home.

“I wasn’t dwelling for 5 days. The home isn’t in a livable situation. The flood broken the home and triggered an incredible loss for me,” she stated.

Floods are frequent in low-lying areas of Bangladesh however consultants say they’re changing into extra ferocious and frequent on account of local weather change.

Over the border in India, some 50 individuals have been killed in days of flooding, landslides and thunderstorms, in accordance with native catastrophe administration authorities.

Within the northeastern state of Assam, authorities on Sunday stated the dying toll from the floods had reached 18.

In line with the Assam State Catastrophe Administration Authority (ASDMA), almost 3,250 villages had been partially or totally submerged.

ASDMA officers stated the state of affairs had improved barely however that it remained essential in some districts.

In line with their estimate, greater than 92,000 individuals had been in reduction camps.

The state and nationwide rescue forces, helped by the military, are working to rescue individuals from villages and distribute meals, clear consuming water and different necessities, in addition to clear roads.

In India’s Bihar state, a minimum of 33 individuals had been killed in thunderstorms final week, studies stated.

The lethal floods come as South Asia has been reeling underneath an intense heatwave, with temperatures touching almost 50 levels Celsius (122 Fahrenheit) in some locations.