Deutsche Welle – #headabovewater: Shipbreaker: “We shouted for help but nobody heard us.”

30 December 2014 - #headabovewater – Shipbreaker: “We shouted for help but nobody heard us.”

The images from Chittagong, Bangladesh were filmed by German media Deutsche Welle.

Accidents are common in the shipbreaking yards of Chittagong. And very often, those who get hurt don’t receive the necessary medical treatment – like Ibrahim. Life Links reporter Gönna went to see him.

“Safety First” – that’s what it says on huge signs at some of the entrances to the shipbreaking yards of Chittagong. But inside many workers are dismantling the ships without proper safety gear – no helmets, no boots, no gloves. Safety? Not so much.

“Often, workers are hit by falling steel parts or they’re crushed underneath,” says Patrizia Heidegger from Brussels-based NGO Shipbreaking Platform. “We also see workers falling from great heights from the top of the ship.” There are also toxic gases that can suffocate workers or cause explosions – not to mention all the hazardous materials like asbestos or heavy metals.

But toxic gases were not what hurt Ibrahim – it was the large piece of iron he got caught under. And that was three months ago.

Since then he’s been stuck in bed. His family is too poor to pay for medical treatment and his employer is not offering any help at all. Ibrahim survived the accident, but the 15-year-old might be disabled for the rest of his life.

Watch the interview with Ibrahim by clicking here (in English)