Millions will literally go hungry : coronavirus chaos in Bangladesh
As high streets and shopping centres lie empty in cities across Europe, the usual flow of orders to factories in garment-producing countries has come to a sudden and devastating halt. Among the worst hit by coronavirus cancellations is Bangladesh, whose economy relies heavily on clothing exports. Suppliers, and garment workers, are now struggling to survive.
Disappearing domestic demand has resulted in retailers cancelling orders en masse, putting enormous pressure on the industry in Bangladesh and pushing factories to the brink of collapse. More than 1,100 factories in Bangladesh are currently closed and around $3.08bn (£2.4bn) worth of exports – the equivalent of 964 million pieces of clothing – have been cancelled or suspended during the coronavirus crisis so far, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association has reported.
In a video published at the end of March, association president Rubana Huq pleaded with international buyers to take delivery of completed orders under existing payment terms to protect people who work in the sector.
“We will have 4.1 million workers literally going hungry if we don’t all step up to our commitment to the welfare of the workers. This is a call we all promised to take a long time ago,” Huq warned.