80 dead, 800 hurt in Savar high-rise collapse
Published: 2013-04-24 04:01:05.0 BdST Updated: 2013-04-25 14:39:43.0 BdST
Death toll in the collapse of nine-storied Rana Plaza in Savar near Dhaka on Wednesday has gone up to 80.
Savar circle ASP Moshiuddoula Reza told bdnews24.com he had information about recovery of 76 bodies until 1pm.
Most of the bodies were taken to the Enam Medical College from the site, which is located near the Savar Bus Stand.
According to rescuers, at least four more bodies have been taken to local hospitals and clinics.
More than 800 people were injured in what is easily one of the worst instances of building collapse ever in Bangladesh.
Since the condition of many of those being treated in local hospitals and clinics is critical, doctors say the death toll could further rise.
Locals said around 6,000 workers used to work in the four factories located in the building.
Savar Model Police Station OC Asaduzzaman said the rear of the building suddenly started to collapse around 8:30am. Within a short time, the whole structure, except the main pillar and parts of the front wall, caved in triggering an all-round panic.
According to the locals, many bodies were removed from the collapsed building, but many more are still trapped under the debris.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has expressed deep shock at the tragedy and has ordered the local administration to carry out the rescue operation on a war footing.
Opposition leader Khaleda Zia has also expressed shock and grief over the incident and asked her party men to relax the strike in Savar to facilitate rescue operation.
Home Minister MK Alamgir, Health Minister AFM Ruhal Haq, State Minister for LGRD Jahangir Kabir Nanak and local MP Talukdar Mohammad Towhid Jung Murad visited the site.
Alamgir said tough action would be taken against those found responsible after probe.
Four army teams have joined the police, RAB, firefighters and the locals in expediting the rescue work.
Traffic on the Dhaka-Aricha Highway has been disrupted after the building collapse as thousands of people came out to join the rescue.
OC Asaduzzaman said four garments factories and a bank branch located in the complex were closed on Tuesday after the building’s wall showed cracks. However, some workers returned to factories on Wednesday before the collapse.
A nearby stall owner Sujon Mia told bdnews24.com the building collapsed suddenly with a loud sound.
The ground and first floors of the plaza had shops selling electronic goods, computers, perfumes and garments, and also had a branch of the Brac Bank.
On the second floor was New Wave Bottoms Limited, Phantom Apparels Ltd on the third floor, Phantom Tack Ltd on the fourth floor and Ethar Textile Ltd on the fifth.
Officials of the local administration had visited the spot on Tuesday.
Engineer Abdur Razzak had said the building needed to be examined by structural experts from BUET for risk assessment.
He had also forewarned about a possible collapse.
Rana Plaza is owned by Awami League youth front Juba League’s Senior Joint Convenor, Md Sohel Rana. He is reported to have said the cracks were not serious.
Building collapses are not infrequent in Bangladesh, specially in Dhaka, where construction laws are seldom enforced.
In one of the worst such incidents, at least 70 people were killed when a garment factory had collapsed outside Dhaka in 2005.
At least 14 died and 25 were injured when another high-rise building owned by a government official had collapsed on tin-roof shanties in June 2010.
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