Tragedies in Bangladeshby Former Representative George Miller
Posted on 2014-12-11
MILLER of California asked and was given permission to
address the House for 1 minute and to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. Mr. Speaker, on April 24, 2013, the
world witnessed the deadliest disaster in the history of the garment
industry. That morning Rana Plaza, an eight-story building housing five
garment factories just outside Bangladesh's capital of Dhaka,
collapsed. 1,138 people were killed and over 2,500 more were injured.
Just 5 months earlier, at least 112 people were killed, and scores more were injured when they leapt from a burning building at the Tazreen Fashions factory.
These tragedies laid bare the broken system, ineffective government oversight, and failed corporate responsibility and the powerlessness of the garment workers.
They also left nearly 4,000 survivors, families of the victims in need of long-term compensation. Many of the survivors are unable to find work, struggling with physical disabilities and mental trauma that could last for a lifetime. The injured workers and their families who lost loved ones--for many of them, their only income earner--are now trying to survive economic impoverishment in addition to the painful memories.
In the wake of these disasters, the International Labor Organization helped set up compensation funds for victims and families. Labor groups, the Bangladeshi Government, and several prominent retailers and brands who sourced from Bangladesh have committed funds to the survivors of Rana Plaza. Two years after the Tazreen fire, an agreement has also been reached on compensation for these survivors.
The Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund needs an estimated $40 million to provide for Rana Plaza survivors and victims' families, but as of last month the fund only had collected $22 million, barely half the amount.
Injured workers and victims' families are being shortchanged. Nearly 40 global garment brands had recent or current orders in the five garment factories in Rana Plaza when it collapsed. They owe better compensation to the victims of their carelessness.