• Tuesday, Nov 12, 2019
  • Last Update : 12:21 pm

We must learn from our mistakes

  • Published at 11:57 pm April 5th, 2019
FIRE
MEHEDI HASAN

The residents of Dhaka are currently living in great danger

It has been a little over a week since a fire ravaged FR Tower in Banani and took the lives of 25 people, and injured dozens of others in the process. 

We watched in shock as the fire blazed in front of our very eyes, as people struggled to escape, some even jumping to escape the inferno. 

But we cannot continue to simply mourn without changing the way we function as a society.

If the FR Tower incident has taught us anything, it is that, when it comes to fire safety, we as a city and as a nation are grossly underprepared. 

According to a Dhaka Tribune report, the survivors of the fire said that there had never been any fire drills conducted by the building authorities, nor were there any fire alarms, and that the emergency exits were blocked -- all of which no doubt contributed to the death toll. 

If only we had learned our lesson after the Chawkbazar fire or the Nimtoli fire, we could have avoided the tragedy -- but we did not.

And we cannot afford to do the same once again.

The residents of Dhaka are currently living in great danger -- a 2016 Rajuk report detailed that more than 3,000 building were at grave fire risk. 

And this problem cannot be solved merely by adding a few fire extinguishers here and a few more fire drills there, as there are thousands of buildings across the city built with serious design flaws. 

The prime minister herself has issued a set of directives to maintain strict building codes, and we hope that the authorities pay heed to these moving forward, along with the Fire Service and Civil Service Department’s recommendations. 

What we need is a systemic change, one which addresses the corruption and negligence leading to the very existence of so many hazardous buildings being constructed in the first place.