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18 October, 2012A huge rally took place in Dhaka, Bangladesh on 12 October following a fire that burnt down the homes and seriously affected the lives of 4,000 Bangladeshi textile workers on 7 October 2012.
A long human chain stood in front of National Press Club in Dhaka on 12 October demanding support to the victims of fire in Begun Bari and Sattala slums area. Workers, holding red-flags, took out a procession after the human chain and rallied through the important city streets. The rally was organized by an IndustriALL Global Union affiliate in Bangladesh, the National Garment Workers Federation (NGWF).
According to the NGWF report over 7,000 people, of whom more than 4,000 are garment workers, were seriously affected by a devastating fire at Sattala under Mohakhali area in Dhaka city on 7 October 2012. Earlier, on 20 September, more than 3,000 garment workers were affected seriously in another fire at Begun Bari slum zone under Tejgaon, another area of Dhaka city.
At the meeting union leaders expressed deep regret over the fact that garment workers contributing almost 80 per cent of country’s export earnings having lost everything after the fire are now facing inhuman misery with no help from the government, factory owners or buyers.
The speakers expressed gratitude to BRAC (a development organization dedicated to alleviating poverty) the only NGO that helped Begun Bari fire victims providing medical treatment to injured persons and rendering financial support to each of the affected families.
NGWF strongly believes that the garment factories employing workers have to provide safe and better living places for their workers.
The participants of the rally urged all, including the government, factory owners and buyers to come forward to help the affected garment workers. The union believes that the factories in affected areas or nearby could take the initiative to identify their affected workers and render support to them. The union also says that the brands could also participate; at least those who have an office in Dhaka could render support through their supplying factories. The union is ready to help and identify the garment workers in need and arrange support distribution.
From the beginning NGWF tried to alleviate the situation of the affected workers, activists of the union took the injured for treatment by BRAC, arranged at least for some temporary living, and provided small financial support to some affected workers