The 2013 collapse of a multi-storied commercial building named Rana Plaza is a deadliest accidental structural failure and the worst garment factory accident in Bangladesh. During the collapse many workers died and trapped and in general created great national and international outcry. Emotions and consciences were severely stirred. Civil society, students, community-based organisations, government, non-governmental organisations came forward with social and economic support for the victims. BRAC, also extended support through its many programmes. BRAC Limb and Brace Centre (BLBC) provided prosthetic limbs and braces to a number of survivours with critical condition immediately after the collapse. Survivours also received other assistance in various forms like follow-up treatment facility, psychosocial counselling and monthly monetary support. Few survivours have received livelihood skills training from Disaster, Environment and Climate Change (DECC) programme.
This study aimed to understand situation of the victims after one year of disaster and to see how they materialised BRAC’s support they received so far. This study was done using multiple data collection tools and techniques of qualitative research methods. Collected data were analysed with thematic framework technique. Findings revealed that the survivours were severely traumatised experiencing the accident and their psychological stress was further catalysed by feeling of disempowerment followed by societal attitudes towards them because of physical impairments incurred to them. They were going through extreme financial hardship due to joblessness and other vulnerabilities and were struggling to meet the costs of basic needs and that of treatment, medicines and rehabilitation. Moreover, lives of their dependents were reported to worsen off. A strong link between disability, gender and poverty was noticed. Female survivours with physical impairment were more vulnerable than their male counterparts because of existing societal norms in the country.
Most survivours expressed their satisfaction over BRAC support they received. However, in cases it was found that recipients could not make fair use of the prosthetic limb due to practical complications associated with the use of the devices like feeling heaviness, headache, swelling, and pain and so on. Most of them also mentioned financial support provided by BRAC is inadequate to their actual needs. Some of the male survivours showed their frustrations for having training on issues they were not interested in and some other seemed tired of waiting long in the queue for livelihood
It is recommended that counseling facilities should be set up in a way that the survivours get continuing support from it to get out of the mental trauma and their anxiety is lessen to a level that they can rejoin livelihood activities according to their physical capacity. Also, selection for survivours for skills training must be made on the need of the prospective recipients so that they can get most benefit from it.