After Disaster, Bangladesh Lags in Policing Its Maze of Factories

By?JIM YARDLEY New York Times
DHAKA, Bangladesh ? Not even two months after the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory building claimed more than 1,100 lives, a team of engineers arrived to assess another factory in the center of the capital. It was named Al-Hamra Garments, and it was one of hundreds of factories undergoing post-disaster inspections as Bangladesh sought to prove that its critical apparel industry was safe.
The Al-Hamra Garments factory, with its exterior staircase, is one of many reported to have structural problems.?Khaled Hasan for The New York Times

The Al-Hamra Garments factory, with its exterior staircase, is one of many reported to have structural problems. But this inspection, conducted in mid-June, was startling. The two engineers discovered that the eight-story factory was partly propped up by temporary cast-iron pillars placed on the ground floor. Several original beams and columns were cracked or disintegrating. And the factory was open for business, with more than 1,000 workers producing clothing for a Bangladeshi apparel conglomerate whose customers include Walmart and Gap. Continue reading “After Disaster, Bangladesh Lags in Policing Its Maze of Factories”

Justice Still Elusive in Factory Disasters in Bangladesh

by Jim Yardley. The New York Times

DHAKA, Bangladesh ? Inside Courtroom 21, the two judges peered down from high wooden chairs as lawyers in formal black robes presented their motions. Activists and victims watched from the back. And a few steps away, a portly man with a thick black beard remained silent. He was the suspect. He did not seem especially nervous. Continue reading “Justice Still Elusive in Factory Disasters in Bangladesh”

Reshma alive! After 17 days under rubble.

Reshma pulled out alive:

Reshma, who was spotted alive under the debris of collapsed Rana Plaza on Friday afternoon was pulled out safely and rushed to Combined Military Hospital (CMH).

She was miraculously located alive under the rubble after 16 days of the worst ever building collapse tragedy in Bangladesh’s history.

Earlier, rescuers found her after hearing a feeble voice under the debris. A rescuer from Bangladesh Army identified the woman as one ‘Reshma’.

She has fought all odds to survive the catastrophe for 17 days, even as the rescuers had lost hope of finding anyone alive under the debris weeks ago.

The rescuer said they could talk to her. “After being located she was given food, water and oxygen.” She was then pulled out alive.

After giving up hope of finding anyone alive under the wreckage, the rescuers had pressed heavy machinery to clear the debris on April 28.

But only the next day on April 29, the rescuers found one ‘Shahina’ alive under the debris. But she could not be rescued as she died in a fire that had broken out at the wreckage site a few hours after she was spotted.

The nine-storey commercial block, Rana Plaza, collapsed on Apr 24 leaving over a thousand people, mostly garment workers, dead.

Bangladesh’s Worst Industrial Accident: Scenes From a Terrifying Tragedy

A Muslim priest leads a crowd in prayers offered to unclaimed bodies from the building that collapsed last week in preparation for a mass burial on Wednesday, May 1, 2013, in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Several hundred people attended the mass funeral in a Dhaka suburb for 18 unidentified workers who died in the building housing garment factories that collapsed last week in the country’s worst industrial disaster, killing at least 402 people and injuring 2,500. ©AP Photo/Wong Maye-E

Let me see the world just one more time

They said I would need a mask. ‘The smell’ they said. It was five days into the accident.

But it was no accident. A building built illegally, of faulty construction, showing signs of rupture, had been made their prison. It eventually became their grave. More money needed to be made.


Continue reading “Let me see the world just one more time”

Inside Bangladesh’s garment factories: life and work in a dangerous industry

By Homa Khalil The Guardian.

Gazi Nafis Ahmed’s photographs of clothing factory workers in Bangladesh reveal some of the grinding poverty and ever-present dangers they face day after day. Nafis is an alumni of Pathshala South Asian Media Institute and in the VII Mentor Program

A mother preparing supper after a nine-hour shift in a factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh. She has worked in factories for 34 years. ©Gazi Nafis Ahmed /VII Mentor Program

Continue reading “Inside Bangladesh’s garment factories: life and work in a dangerous industry”

Bangladesh Needs Strong Unions, Not Outside Pressure

By Fazle Hasan Abed in New York Times


BANGLADESH, my country, is again in tears. Last week in Savar, a suburb of Dhaka, the capital, a poorly constructed building that housed garment factories and other businesses collapsed. More than 300 have been confirmed dead, and the final death toll could well exceed 700. Continue reading “Bangladesh Needs Strong Unions, Not Outside Pressure”

Rana Plaza: Globalising greed

(In Bangla)?Interview of rescue volunteer Mohammad Ferdous at Rana Plaza from Shahidul Alam on Vimeo.
(In Bangla) Volunteer rescue worker Mohammad Ferdous breaks down in tears as he recalls how he had to saw off a hand of a trapped worker in order to free her from the wreckage of Rana Plaza where around a thousand workers are still reported missing. Pity we still can’t use youtube as it is still banned in Bangladesh.

Who Pays the Real Price of Your Shirt?

By David Bacon, The Progressive.

Seven hundred workers have died in factory fires in Bangladesh since 2005, including the 112 who burned to death or jumped to their deaths at the Tazreen factory on November 24th. Now hundreds more bodies are being pulled from the rubble of the Rana Plaza building, in an industrial district 18 miles from Dhaka.
At Tazreen the owners didn?t build fire escapes. They?d locked the doors on the upper floors ?to prevent theft,? trapping workers in the flames.
At Rana Plaza, factory owners refused to evacuate the building after huge cracks appeared in the walls, even after safety engineers told them not to let workers inside. Continue reading “Who Pays the Real Price of Your Shirt?”

Back from the grave

By?Syed Zain Al-Mahmood?Bangladesh?Dhaka Tribune

Factory executive returns unscathed after two days ?in hell?

  • Sabiha Sultana Mukta after her rescue on Friday
    Photo- Syed Zain Al-Mahmood
For two days, Sabiha Sultana Mukta lay pinned in the darkness – the lifeless body of a colleague to one side, a concrete pillar just above her head.
?It was like being in a grave. I just prayed,? she said. ?I knew I would die.? Continue reading “Back from the grave”