She had been suffering from illness for 8 long years due to lack of treatment, says her family
Sharmin Akther, a worker who was injured in the fire at Tazreen Fashion factory in Ashulia’s Nischintapur neighbourhood under Savar upazila on November 24, 2012, breathed her last on Wednesday.
Sharmin died at her grandfather's house in Tanpara area of Ashulia around 9:30am, confirmed by her family and local workers’ leaders.
Sharmin is survived by her husband and two sons. She used to work as a sewing machine operator at Tazreen Fashion.
She had been suffering from illness for eight long years due to lack of treatment, said her family.
Nasima Akter, Sharmin’s former coworker at Tazreen and an eyewitness of the fire, said they worked on the third floor of the factory. “After the fire broke out on November 24, the floor was engulfed in smoke. Sharmin fell ill then and had been ill ever since.”
Rakibul Islam, president of the Savar-Ashulia unit of Bangladesh Garments Tailors Workers League, said: “She had been ill since the accident. She did not receive any treatment, nor did she get any assistance or cooperation.”
Arbindu Bepari, president of the Garment Workers' Federation, said: "It is very sad that we have lost one more sister of Tazreen today. She died due to lack of medical treatment and financial crisis.
“Why did this worker have to die without receiving treatment? We want an answer from the factory owner and BGMEA (Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association).”
What happened 8 years ago
On November 24, 2012, the deadliest factory fire in the nation’s history broke out in Ashulia, on the outskirts of Dhaka, killing at least 112 people and leaving over 200 injured.
The blaze was believed to have been caused by a short circuit. Workers were trapped inside the building as all exit routes were locked.
There was only one route — through the windows on the upper floors of that nine-storey building since the windows on the lower floors were blocked.
Workers who got stuck inside and couldn’t escape were killed by the fire and smoke.
Meanwhile, even those who escaped — by jumping from the windows of the third and fourth floors — sustained serious back and head injuries, which left many of them with constant and nagging pain.