On the night of 4 June 2022, a fire and then explosions at a container depot in Sitakunda Upazila, Chittagong District, Bangladesh.
According to Bangladesh Inland Container Depots Association (BICDA), the estimated primary financial loss caused by the deadly container depot fire in Chattogram’s Sitakunda may stretch over $110 million.
Unfortunately, there was over 800 TEUs (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units) of containers loaded with export items – mainly RMG products and frozen foods – around 500 imported goods-laden containers and 3000 empty containers.
BICDA Secretary General Ruhul Amin Sikder said, “The primary damage from the fire will surpass over $110 million as it has destroyed loaded export and import containers worth over $90 million and empty containers worth over $20 million.”
Besides this, in last five days export goods for the United States and Europe were brought to the depot for shipment.
BGMEA Vice president Rakibul Alam Chowdhury said, “In the depot, there were goods that were waiting for a shipment for the US-based chain cloth brand H&M, Pran and Ananta Group, while 100 TEUs were supposed to be shipped for a European brand.”
Tragically, more than 2,000 workers and employees died in at least 26 factory fires over the last two decades till last July. In fact, frequent fire incident has become a common issue in Bangladesh.
Also, there was a major fire incident in the country in 2019 when at least 70 people lost their lives in Old Dhaka after a gas cylinder blast led to a massive fire in chemical warehouses.
Therefore, in order to ensure smooth industrial growth and worker place safety, a comprehensive initiative should be taken.
Though, the ILO is working with the Government, employers’ and workers’ organizations in Bangladesh to foster a preventative safety and health culture by strengthening national occupational safety and health (OSH) systems.