Just two hours before the explosions at the BM container depot in Chattogram's Sitakunda, two friends – Abul Hashem and Md Shahjahan – entered the facility, driving their covered vans for unloading goods.
Both of them have been missing since the blasts on the night of 4 June.
Their families have not received any compensation or financial assistance from the depot authorities or from the government as the bodies have not yet been either found or identified.
After losing the sole breadwinner of the family, Moslema Akhter - wife of Abul Hashem – fell into a quandary with her minor three children.
Md Belal, Abul Hashem's nephew, told The Business Standard (TBS), "DNA sample has been given but my uncle's body has not been found. So far the authorities are asking for various documents and we are providing them with as much as we can. But it is a very uncertain time for us. We have received no compensation so far."
Some 21 families like the families of Abul Hashem and Md Shahjahan are also facing a similar situation.
Three more fire service personnel are still missing. Although they have received government and private compensation, the families of the missing civilians have not got any.
As of now, 24 families have given DNA samples against 20 recovered bodies, meaning four more are still missing. If these bodies are not found, then whether their families will get compensation remains to be seen.
Md Alamgir, brother of Monir Hossain - a missing crane operator of BM container depot, told TBS, "My brother got married seven months ago. His wife is pregnant. We desperately need financial assistance. But the depot authorities told us to find the body first to get any aid."
At least 47 people, including firefighters, were killed and more than 200 were injured in the depot fire and subsequent explosions.
Establishments in the surrounding area have also been damaged. A case has also been filed at Sitakunda model police station in this regard.
Sitakunda model police station Inspector (Investigation) and Investigation Officer of the case Sumon Chandra Banik told TBS, "So far 29 bodies have been handed over to their respective families. There are 20 more unidentified bodies and 24 families have given DNA samples."
"A general diary has been lodged with our police station mentioning that five persons still remain missing," he added.
Jahangir Alam, additional superintendent of police of Chattogram CID, told TBS, "So far we have DNA samples from 44 members of 24 families. It takes a while to identify DNA because the bodies were badly burnt."
Shamsul Haider Siddiqui, general manager (Admin) of Smart Group, a company in charge of operating the BM Depot, told TBS, "We have so far compensated a total of 69 families of Tk5.67 crore through the district administration. Of the families, 31 are from BM Depot, 30 from Fire Service and 8 others."
Asked about compensating the families of the missing persons, he said, "Nothing can be said before the DNA results are received. The decision will be made later."
"We have seven more workers missing. They gave DNA samples. The rest will be compensated after the bodies are identified. Besides, there are 20 more people undergoing treatment at the hospital. Their documents are also being scrutinized," Shamsul Haider added.
Chattogram Deputy Commissioner Mominur Rahman told TBS, "The district administration has paid Tk50,000 for the dead and Tk25,000 for the injured. The Ministry of Labor has given compensation of Tk2 lakh for the dead and Tk50,000 for injured persons."
"The depot authorities have also paid compensation. We hope that the DNA results will come next week, (26-29 June). Then the rest will be compensated," the DC added.