Again in Bangladesh: Garment factory building falls,kills 123

800 injured; Owners ignored cracks spotted on Tuesday,forced staff to work

Dhaka | Published: April 25, 2013 1:59 am

Anisur Rahman

At least 123 people were killed and over 800 injured on Wednesday when an eight-storey commercial building that housed several garment factories and thousands of workers collapsed on the outskirts of Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka.

The Rana Plaza in Savar on the outskirts of Dhaka,collapsed at about 9:00 am (local time) with rescue work being carried out to pull out survivors from the rubble. The eight-storey commercial building housed three garment units,a bank branch and around three hundred shops. Locals said around 6,000 workers used to work in the factories located in the building.

Most of the bodies were taken to the Enam Medical College from the site,which is located near the Savar bus stand. “At least 123 bodies have been recovered so far,” Dhaka district police chief Habibur Rahman told reporters. So far,about 800 people have been rescued,The Daily Star newspaper quoted officials as saying.

Lt Col Md Moin Uddin,commanding officer of the 3rd Engineering Battalion of Savar Cantonment,said the rescue operation would continue for two more days.

With hundreds more trapped inside,many of them alive,rescuers fear the death toll may rise significantly.

Earlier,fire service director general Brig Gen Ali Ahmed Khan said,“More people,dead or alive,are still trapped inside. As the rescue operation is underway,we expect more bodies to be retrieved overnight.”

Maj Gen Abul Hassan Sarwardy ,GOC of Savar-based ninth division said army engineers and rescuers were forced to proceed “slowly and cautiously otherwise the building will collapse entirely causing more casualties.” He said 600 people were being treated at different facilities in Savar,Dhaka and the combined military hospital at the nearby cantonment.

Home Minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir said,“The building might have collapsed due to faulty construction.”

Director of the Industrial Police Mostafizur Rahman blamed the garment factory owners for the collapse tragedy. He said that the owners were operating their units ignoring the cracks spotted in the building Tuesday.

Some workers complained that the building had developed cracks last evening,but were not able to evacuate as they were forced back by their managers,media reports said.

The country witnessed the last major building collapse in 2005 when over 70 people were killed after a multi-storey garment factory collapsed in the same area.

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