No end to their plight

Muktadir Rashid and Moinul Haque

Survivors of the Rana Plaza building collapse are still struggling to recover from trauma and many of them are yet to be rehabilitated two years after the country’s worst industrial disaster in Savar in April 2013.
Plight of the survivors in the collapse and the families of the deceased or missing workers have worsened while the maimed ones stare blankly at an uncertain future, the families said.
A 14-year-old victim, Anna Khatun, who  lost her right hand after being trapped under the rubble, was still undergoing treatment at the National Institute of Cancer Research and Hospital in the capital.
She along with her mother spent most of the time in Dhaka in last two years for her treatment as travel from her home town Jamalpur to the capital twice a month was difficult.
BRAC Limb and Brace Centre fitted her with a prosthetic hand in November 2013 but it developed cancer which spread to other parts of her body leading to the amputation of her right leg on February 15 this year.
‘I have to assist her in every work she has to do,’ Anna’s mother Hajiran Begum told New Age at her bedside in the Cancer Hospital.
The BRAC also provided Tk 1, 00, 000 in fixed-deposit receipts for each of 12 victims as part of a long-term rehabilitation support.
Her father Badsha Miah said the government had also provided Tk 12, 00,000 in fixed-deposit receipts for her.
Bangladesh Garment Manufactures and Exporters Association paid her medical expenses ranging between Tk 5,000 and Tk 7,000 per month.
She was one of 46 others who became disabled permanently while 150 others required long-term treatment, according to the government statistics.
On the morning of April 24, 2013, the eight-storey Rana Plaza building, which had housed five clothing factories, a shopping mall and a bank, came crashing down, leaving at least 1,137 people dead and about 2,000 injured.
Like 500 other patients, a 20-year-old seamstress, Rehana Khatun, left the Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed in Savar a few months ago and started living in a rented house in the same area. She needed to visit the centre often for follow-up treatment.
Rehana, a swing operator of New Wave Styles, one of the factories that Rana Plaza had housed, was rescued 20 hours after the building collapsed and had her legs amputated up to knee.
‘I worry about my future, about how I can survive,’ said Rehana.
The government has provided her with Tk 15 lakh in fixed-deposit receipts as an immediate financial assistance.
A large number of survivors left Savar for their village homes and left their jobs switching over to other trades for a livelihood while many others were taking treatment or attending motivational programmes to get rid of the trauma or pain.
According to the CRP, they registered 502 patients after the disaster.

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