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Bangladesh Building Collapse Death Toll Passes 400

  • VOA News

A rescue worker attempts to find survivors from the rubble of the collapsed Rana Plaza building in Savar, 30 km (19 miles) outside Dhaka, April 30, 2013.

A rescue worker attempts to find survivors from the rubble of the collapsed Rana Plaza building in Savar, 30 km (19 miles) outside Dhaka, April 30, 2013.

The death toll from last week's collapse of a garment factory building in Bangladesh has passed 400, as thousands gather in Dhaka for a May Day demonstration to demand safety at work and the death penalty for the building's owner.

On Tuesday, the High Court asked authorities to freeze the assets of the owner, Mohammed Sohel Rana, as well as the owners of the garment factories that were housed in Rana's building.

Police say they ignored official warnings for people to evacuate the building after inspectors found cracks in it just prior to the collapse.

Authorities have arrested eight people, including building engineers.
Deadly Accidents in Bangladesh

April 2013 Building housing garment factories in Savar collapses, kills more than 800
November 2012 Garment factory fire outside Dhaka kills more than 100
March 2012 Ferry sinks after colliding with oil barge, killing more than 100
April 2005 Garment factory collapse in Savar kills more than 70
May 2002 River ferry sinks, killing up to 500

Rescue workers in Bangladesh are now using heavy equipment to clear the site, and officials expect the number of casualties to rise as hundreds of people remain missing.

More than 3,000 people were in the building when it collapsed.

Also Tuesday, Oxfam urged other Western companies that received textile goods from factories housed in the building to follow their colleagues who are offering compensation to the families of those killed making their clothing.

Britain's Primark and Canada's Loblaw have promised to provide assistance to the survivors and families who lost loved ones in the building collapse.



Some workers are blaming European and American companies for the poor working conditions because the companies demand low-cost goods from the garment manufacturers.

The building collapse last week is the latest disaster to hit Bangladesh's multi-billion-dollar garment industry.

In November, a fire at another garment factory killed more than 100 workers.
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