A 13 year-old student stepped up to provide assistance to victims of the Korail slum fire at a time when authorities have failed to deliver on their promises.
It has been more than two weeks since the recent fire at Korail slum on March 16, but the assistance and compensation promised by Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) Mayor Annisul Huq is yet to arrive, said Korail residents.
In the meantime, private citizens and volunteer organisations have been helping many in Korail to rebuild their lives.
One of these citizens is 13 year-old student Sadaqat Omar, who arranged food for hundreds of people within hours after the fire. His efforts fed more than 800 people over two days.
Sadaqat said he was woken up by people screaming from the slum across the lake.
“When people crossed the lake by boat with whatever little possession they could save and came to our street, we had to do something,” he said.
Jaago Foundation has also been doing humanitarian work at the slum, aided by volunteers who fed thousands of people for days after the fire.
The Vialisa Foundation, Moyeen Foundation and Volunteers for Bangladesh have also been working relentlessly to clear the debris and distribute medicine and clothing to the affected people.
However, a school within the slum, Mayer Doa School, which was completely burnt down during the fire has not been rebuilt as yet.
The school’s headmaster Monir Hossain said: “Around 360 students, mostly working children, attend the school. Many laptops donated by different aid agencies, a projector, study material, books, wooden desks and benches have all been burnt to ashes.”
The Korail slum, located across the Gulshan area and divided by a lake, has been besieged by fire three times since March 2016. It covers over 150 acres of land, making it the largest slum in Dhaka city. The slum sits on prime real estate that belongs to Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Limited (BTCL) and has avoided several eviction attempts by authorities over the years.