Rana Plaza tragedy: 42.4pc survivors still jobless

Dhaka – Some 57.6 percent survivors of Rana Plaza collapse are engaged in various types of wage and self-employments, while 42.4 percent claimed that they are jobless, shows a recent survey. UNB news agency reported
Those who are unemployed cited physical weakness (48.1 pc) and mental weakness (33.4 pc) as the main reasons for being unemployed.
The employment rate has increased over the last five years, though the progress is still slow, says the survey, conducted on survivors and families of the deceased. The sample sizes were 1403 and 607 for survivors and families of deceased.
Out of the 1403 survivors surveyed, 34.8 percent were men and 65.2 percent women with majority (over 70 pc) aged below 30 years of age. In the case of families of deceased, respondents were mostly spouses, fathers or brothers.
In the current survey, 13.1 percent said their condition is getting worse, while 74.5 percent of the respondents said their physical health was somewhat stable and 12.4 were completely stable.
Of the 13.1 percent who reported that their condition is deteriorating in the current survey listed headache, pain in hand and leg, back pain as some of the major problems.
The trend of 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 surveys show that physical health status of the survivors is improving and in some cases, it is completely stable.
In terms of psychosocial health, 30.8 percent are still in trauma in comparison to 58.4 percent survivors last year.
Currently, 57.2 percent reported that they are more or less stable and 12.0 percent have recovered fully.
ActionAid Bangladesh (AAB) conducted the 4th follow-up survey titled ‘Unforgettable and Unforgivable: Rana Plaza’ that was released on Saturday. At least 1,136 people, mostly garment workers, were killed and more than 2,500 injured after the building collapsed in Savar on April 24, 2013.
The survey shows that some 4.8 percent earn less than the minimum wage of Tk 5300 while 42 percent of the survivors have an average monthly income of Tk 5301-10301 and 31.6 percent earn between Tk 10301-15300.
The situation has improved significantly since 2015 when 76 percent earned less than Tk 5300.
Average expenditure for survivors is Tk 10,560 with major costs incurred for food, followed by house-rent, children’s education and treatment.
Compared to the families of deceased, most survivors do not have any savings left of the financial support they received. In the last 10 months, 97 survivors received trainings, while 121 psychosocial counseling and 115 health support.
In terms of the future plan, 41.8 percent survivors who are currently unemployed opted to expand or start their own business and 26.2 percent had no plans.
ActionAid Bangladesh has worked closely with the survivors and families of the deceased since 2013. AAB provided emergency support during the rescue and developed a comprehensive database of survivors in 2013.
Since 2013, AAB has been using the database to periodically collect information to track the progress of the survivors and families of the deceased.
“It’s unfortunate to see such a situation of this large number of workers. They’re getting deeper into poverty,” said ActionAid Country Director, Bangladesh Farah Kabir sharing her thoughts on the survey report.
Additional research director at Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem said there has been absence of coordinated efforts on compensation and rehabilitation issues.