World News

Bangladesh Building Collapse Death Toll Passes 400

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 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.

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.

Last week's building collapse 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.

Feature Story

VOA EXCLUSIVE: Hotel in Guangzhou Serves as China’s Ebola Quarantine

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Guangzhou Hotel Serves as China’s Ebola Quarantine

Hotel remains open for regular business, but several floors are reserved for potential Ebola carriers, health workers and Chinese security officials More