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Fighting against fire

  • Published at 12:04 am August 18th, 2019

If progress means anything, it is to provide for those most vulnerable

Even before the ashes of the fire at the plastic factory in Lalbagh could settle, a massive fire broke out at a slum in Mirpur 7, leaving more than 3,000 families affected as a result. 

We cannot help but ask the question: What exactly is going on?

When it comes to the frequency of fires, it seems that Dhaka city is hellbent on breaking a record of sorts, with one fire after another littering the skyline of the city, year after year, with this being the fourth major fire to affect us this year alone. 

Our buildings and other structures continue to function under a shroud of neglect, as was the case this time round in the Mirpur slum, which was filled with combustible substances and had a vulnerable gas connection. 

Why, after the dozens who have lost their lives to fires, after the thousands more who have been affected, are we allowing such blatant disregard for safety to continue?

While the firefighters must be commended for their bravery and, as of now, no lives to seem to have been lost as a result, we must remember that, because of this most recent fire, thousands of people are now homeless.

The authorities must not only ensure that such incidents are not allowed to take place in the future -- for example, there must be a rigorous and extensive sweep of all residents, slum or not, to ensure safety is being maintained -- but also provide alternative housing to the people affected by this fire.

We cannot let thousands of people wander homeless on the streets of Dhaka. If progress means anything, it is to provide for those most vulnerable, especially after tragedy has affected their lives in this manner.