At least 120 people have died and more than 600 others been injured in an nine-storey building collapse in Savar in the worst such disaster in Bangladesh’s history.
Rescuers say the death counts in the disaster
may well rise further as scores are believed to have been trapped under the
It is not clear how many people were inside the building when it
grounded, but estimates suggest around 5,000 people, mostly women, were working
in the four garment factories at the time.
Salvage operations are running
through Wednesday night with flashlights installed but rescuers have complained
of the presence of too many people at the scene.
Haider Ali, Additional
Secretary at the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association
(BGMEA), told bdnews24.com on Wednesday midnight that 120 bodies were recovered
while 67 of them were handed over to their families and relatives.
industry lobby has opened three booths -- at Enam Medical College and Hospital,
Rana Plaza and Adhar Chandra High School -- to determine the actual number of
deceased and injured, and the damages.
Zahidur Rahman, Director, Public
Relations of the Enam Medical College and Hospital, where the bodies and the
injured were taken, told bdnews24.com they had received 91 bodies until
Rescue workers said that at least 10 more bodies were taken to
Savar Upazila Health Complex, Savar Labaid and Savar Model Police Station.
Another died on the way to Dhaka Medical College and Hospital.
government has launched investigations into the collapse of the nine-storey
commercial building in Savar that claimed over 100 lives and injured over
bdnews24.com correspondents in Savar said the bodies have been kept
wrapped in plastic sheets in the mortuary. Relatives have taken away many
Local people have joined Fire Brigade and Civil Defence, Army,
Red Crescent, police, RAB in the rescue efforts.
They have been grappling
to maintain order in the hospital as hundreds of people including relatives of
those missing gathered there.
Abul Khair, a firefighter, said they had
been asked to continue their search as many more are feared trapped under heaps
He said several holes had been dug around the debris to
reach the people trapped and they had tried to provide them with oxygen and
The Rana Plaza that housed four garments, a bank, and commercial
shops including electronics, computer, cosmetics and clothes, collapsed in the
morning hour after garment workers were ‘forced’ to join work.
condition of many of those being treated in local hospitals and clinics is
critical, doctors say the death toll could further rise.
Bodies and the
wounded were retrieved of the heaps of flattened floors with makeshift slides
made from cloth.
Fire Brigade and Civil Defence’s Director General Brig
Gen Ali Ahmed Khan said it would take three days to clear the
BGMEA says the owner Mohammad Sohel Rana was warned on Tuesday to
shut the building as cracks appeared. But Rana, who is the Senior Joint Convenor
of the local Juba League, the youth front of ruling Awami League, did not pay
Survivors said they were hesitant to join work in the building
Home Minister MK Alamgir, visited the scene with his many of
his Cabinet colleagues and said the building did not follow ‘building code’
during construction. He vowed to bring the culprit to
President-elect Abdul Hamid, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and
Opposition leader Khaleda Zia mourned the deaths and expressed their condolences
to the victims’ families.
The Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief
has announced Tk 40 million in aid for the victims.
Minister Abul Hassan
Mahmood Ali has directed Tk 20,000 in cash for each of the families of the
deceased and Tk 3,000 for the injured.
The Prime Minister has ordered the
local administration to carry out the rescue operation on a war
The main opposition-led alliance lifted their shutdown in Dhaka
three and a half hours before schedule. The government has declared a national
mourning on Thursday.
The heads of European Union missions in Dhaka, US
Ambassador and Transparency International of Bangladesh (TIB) expressed their
condolences at the loss of lives.
The TIB demanded a judicial
Bangladesh is the world’s second-leading garment exporter behind
China, but the industry has been fraught with safety concerns, angry protests
over poor wages and labour-rights issues.
Savar Model Police Station OC Asaduzzaman said the rear of the
building suddenly started to collapse at 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.
Four army teams have joined the police,
RAB, firefighters and the locals in expediting the rescue work.
on the Dhaka-Aricha Highway was 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
The ground and first floors of the Plaza had shops selling
electronic goods, computers, perfumes and garments, and also had a branch of the
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.
Engineer Abdur Razzak had said the building
needed to be examined by structural experts from BUET for risk
He had also forewarned about a possible
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.