The death counts in the eight-story building collapse in Savar continue to rise as rescue operation is set to run through the night.
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 4:30pm.
correspondents in Savar said the bodies have been kept wrapped in plastic sheets
in the mortuary. Relatives have taken away many bodies.
agencies 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 the rubble.
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 water.
Flashlights have been installed but rescuers have
complained of the presence of too many people at the scene.
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.
Since the condition of
many of those being treated in local hospitals and clinics is critical, doctors
say the death toll could further rise. More than 800 have been reported
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 debris.
It is not clear how many people were inside the
building when it grounded, but estimates suggest around 6,000 workers work in
the four garment factories alone.
Correspondents say the owner Mohammad
Sohel Rana was warned on Tuesday to shut the building as cracks appeared. But
Rana who is the Convenor of the local Jubo League, youth front of ruling Awami
League, did not pay heed.
Survivors said they were hesitant to join work
in the building Wednesday.
Sumi Akhter, 25, who was undergoing treatment
at Enam hospital for her injuries, said she came at 8am. “I did not want to
enter the building. But management told us to join.”
“Hour later, it
collapsed,” she recalled.
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
The Bangladesh Garments Exporters’ and Manufacturers’
Association (BGMEA), however, blamed the building owner and sought ‘capital
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.
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 ‘judicial probe’ into
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.