Siddique Bazar blast: 3 still missing, 17 bodies handed over to families

Fire service personnel are preparing to conduct rescue operations on the basement of the building where a blast killed at least 17 on Tuesday

Published : 8 March 2023, 05:49 AM
Updated : 8 March 2023, 05:49 AM

The bodies of the 17 people killed in the horrendous explosion at the Café Queen building in Old Dhaka’s Siddique Bazar have been handed over to their families.

As of Wednesday morning, three people are still missing after the blast on Tuesday, the local administration told relatives.

Of the 17 bodies, 16 were officially handed over to their families by the Dhaka district administration, Kawsar Hamid, assistant commissioner (land) of the Cantonment Zone, told the media at the Emergency Department of Dhaka Medical College Hospital on Wednesday.

The government has also given them Tk 50,000 each for their burials and other funeral arrangements.

The 16 are – Mominul Islam, 38, his wife Nadi Akhtar, Mohammad Sumon, 21, Munsur Hossein, 40, Ishaq Mridha, 35, Md Ismail Hossain, 42, Md Rahat, 18, Alamin, 23, Mainuddin, 50, Nazmul Hossain, 25, Obaidul Hassan Babul, 55, Abu Bakr Siddique, 34, Akuti Begum Asia, 70, Hridoy, 20, Nurul Islam Bhuiyan, 55, and Abdul Hakim Siam, 19.

The hospital has also prepared a death certificate for Md Idris Mir, 60, but his family ‘forcibly’ took the body last night and so it was not officially turned over to them, according to Md Bachchu Mia of the DMCH police outpost.

A massive explosion rocked the seven-storey building on North South Road late on Tuesday afternoon. In addition to employees at the different stores inside the building, pedestrians and vehicles were also caught in the blast.

DMCH has treated 65 victims of the explosion, according to Hamid. Currently, 21 victims are admitted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital and another 10 are at the Sheikh Hasina National Burn and Plastic Surgery Institute.

The families of the dead will receive Tk 50,000 for now, Dhaka Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Mominur Rahman said on Tuesday night. Those who were seriously injured will get Tk 25,000 and those with minor injuries will get Tk 15,000. The district administration will also provide food and transport costs.

However, the families of the victims have yet to receive this financial support from the government.

“We are gathering and verifying everyone’s information,” said Hamid.

Families had provided the administration with a list of five missing people after the incident, he said. Two of them were found. However, Mehedi Hassan Swapan, who worked at the basement warehouse in the Café Queen building, pedestrian Imtiaz Md Bhuiyan, and sanitary store worker Robin Hossain remain missing.

The damage to the building’s pillars has increased the risk of a collapse. The fire service suspended rescue operations at 11 pm on Tuesday as the work became difficult.

On Wednesday morning, fire service workers were picking up the debris outside the building. Store workers were moving surviving goods.

Fire service personnel were preparing to search the basement, but they had not started the rescue effort as of 10 am, an official said.

Dhaka police chief Khandker Golam Faruq said efforts are underway to find the cause of the blast but no evidence of explosives has been found yet.

Emergency workers were joined by the dog squad to hunt for bodies under the debris, said fire service official Shahjahan Molla.