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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Building Collapse in Bangladesh Kill at least 160 People.

The death toll from a building collapse in Bangladesh yesterday has risen to 160 and could climb higher, police said this morning.

People remain trapped under the rubble of a complex that had housed garment factories supplying retailers in Europe and North America.

Rescue workers have been digging through the rubble of the eight-storey Rana Plaza building in Savar, 30km outside the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka.

More than 1,000 people were injured.

"The death toll could go up as many are still trapped under the rubble," Dhaka's district police chief, Habibur Rahman, said this morning.

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) president Mohammad Atiqul Islam said there were 3,122 workers in the factories yesterday.

He said there had been indications from Savar officials that cracks had been found in the building the day before.

"We asked the garment owners to keep it closed," Mr Islam said.

Rana Plaza's owner had told proprietors of the building's five garment factories that the cracks were not dangerous, Mr Islam added.

"After getting the green signal from the plaza owner all the garment factories opened," he said.

However, police official Mohammad Asaduzzaman said factory owners appeared to have ignored a warning not to allow their workers into the building after a crack was detected on Tuesday.

News reports showed young women workers, some apparently semi-conscious, being pulled out of the rubble by firefighters and troops.

Doctors at Dhaka hospitals said they could not cope with the number of victims.

The collapse follows a November fire at the Tazreen Fashion factory on the outskirts of Dhaka that killed 112 people, and it has compounded concerns about worker safety and low wages in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh employs about 3.6 million people in the garment industry and is the world's second-largest apparel exporter.

Following the Tazreen fire, giant US retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc said it would take steps to alleviate safety concerns, while Gap Inc announced a four-step fire-safety programme.

"Still we are struggling to overcome the odds after the Tazreen fire, now another incident which is a strong blow for the sector," Mr Islam said.  Read full articles here


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