Bangladesh: Fire in Container Depot

Post information

Chronic negligence, from inadequate storage facility to poor firefighting measures, led to the giant explosion and fire in Chittagong port city, Bangladesh. Over 50 people were killed and hundreds injured. The tragedy shows once again how important it is to promote decent working conditions.

Tragedy in Bangladesh: A fire broke out in a private depot for shipping containers in Sitakunda, about 40 kilometres from the port city of Chittagon, leading to several explosions. At least 52 people have died, including warehouse workers, firefighters and police personnel. More than 450 were injured. The fire broke out on the eve of 4 June 2022. After several hours of efforts to contain the fire, not knowing what was inside the containers, firefighters’ work was almost finished until a huge first explosion occurred during the night, causing many chemical containers to explode at the same time. The explosions shattered the window panes of several nearby buildings and could be heard up to a distance of 4 kilometres.

The depot has been in operation since 2011. According to local sources, it is a private Inland Container Depot (ICD) where export and import goods are stored. A large quantity of hydrogen peroxide, a highly flammable chemical, was stored in the building. Chattagram Fire Department Deputy Director Anisur Rahman said during the firefighting operations, “We could not go near the fire for a long time as explosion sounds kept coming from inside. What started the fire, we don’t know yet.” After four days, the fire was extinguished.


The injured were admitted to the CMC hospital. The large number of admissions has led to a chaotic situation. The injured are suffering from lack of immediate and urgent treatment at various hospitals due to lack of medicines like saline and painkillers. The head of the hospital’s burns and plastic surgery department, Dr Rafiq Uddin, told our partner YPSA that 50 per cent of the victims admitted are in critical condition. The death toll could rise even further. The hospital made a megaphone appeal for blood donations.


According to our observation, there were no safety measures in the depot. There should be a classification of flammables in the different containers, but there was not. There should also be an inventory of all the containers in the depot, which could help firefighters understand the situation – and which could save lives. Lack of enforcement of safety standards and unsafe working conditions make fires a daily tragedy in the country. The situation is alarming. Our implementing partner, YPSA in Sitakund, has an effective network of volunteers now providing immediate assistance to victims and working with various media and government agencies.

“We have been drawing attention to the disastrous working conditions in Bangladesh for example in the leather industry for years and would like to do more regarding disastrous working conditions in other agriculture and industrial sectors where the poorest, the children and the migrant workers are exploited, and their basic rights and protection needs denied on a daily basis” says Sabrina Mayoufi from Solidar Suisse. “All the more tragic that this tragedy has now occurred. As we work for equitable global distribution of wealth, income and opportunity, and our mandate is to promote decent work in a just and fair world, promoting safety at work and sufficient access to treatment and rehabilitation for victims, as well as obtaining formal legally binding documents for victims, are among our direct goals.”

Five days after the fire, many people are still missing. According to our unofficial sources, the death toll is 80 and the number of injured is 500. Residents of the surrounding villages have already abandoned their homes for fear of further explosions, as there are still thousands of containers of different types of chemicals. It was also revealed that there are about 25 small and large container depots in Sitakund. The lack of security and the inadequate management of these depots are now the talk of the town.

In early June, there was a fire and a huge explosion at a container depot in Sitakunda, Bangladesh.

The tragedy once again highlights the lack of safety precautions in Bangladesh's industry.

The fire-fighting work lasted several days.

Apparently, chemicals for import and export were stored in the containers.

Dozens of people were killed and over 500 people were injured.

Our mission in Bangladesh

Solidar Suisse campaigns for decent working conditions in industrial sectors.

Your donation

Post information


Show 0 comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top