Collapse of Rana Plaza
Spot News, third prize stories
Onlookers gather around the Rana Plaza, the day after its collapse.
On 24 April, an eight-story building collapsed in Savar, near the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka, killing more than 1,100 people. Rana Plaza, which housed five garment factories, had been designed with only six stories and intended for shops and offices only. Two further stories had been added, and the collapse was in part blamed on the weight and vibration of the garment factories’ heavy machinery. Rana Plaza had been briefly shut down the day before, when cracks appeared in its walls and pillars, but factory workers had been called back in, hours before the building fell. Rescue operations took nearly three weeks. Workers in Rana Plaza made clothes for popular Western brands. The disaster highlighted the hazardous conditions workers face in Bangladesh’s €16 billion garment industry, where many are paid as little as €30 a month. Only a few of the brands using the factories attended a meeting of the world’s largest retailers in Geneva, in the aftermath of the Rana Plaza collapse, and four made contributions to a compensation fund for victims and their families.
Bangladesh Sangbad 71
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About the photographer
Rahul Talukder is a documentary photographer born in Bangladesh in 1991. What started as a passion for street photography later turned into a career choice. In 2011, he joined Pathshala to study photography. Since then, he has been documenting the political unrest and major national events. In 2013, he followed up on the protests for and against the accused of The International Crimes Tribunal (Bangladesh). His recent works illustrate the various issues related to the garment industry. He is currently a second-year student at Pathshala South Asian Media Institute.
His works have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian and several other international media. He was selected as a finalist in the 2014 Sony World Photography Awards Student Focus.