News / Asia

    Bangladesh Building Collapse Death Toll Passes 400

    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.
    VOA News
    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.


    • A man walks at the site where a garment factory building collapsed on April 24 in Savar, near Dhaka, Bangladesh, May 13, 2013.
    • Reshma Begum, center, the 19-year-old seamstress who spent 17 days trapped in the rubble of a collapsed factory building talks to the media at a hospital in Savar, near Dhaka, Bangladesh, May 13, 2013.
    • Rescuers carry a survivor pulled out from the rubble of a building that collapsed in Saver, near Dhaka, Bangladesh, May 10, 2013.
    • People work in the rubble of a collapsed garment factory in Savar near Dhaka, Bangladesh, May 10, 2013.
    • Rescuers carry the body of a victim from the rubble of a building that collapsed in Savar, Bangladesh, May 7, 2013.
    • A woman cries after she identified her relative's body that was recovered from the rubble of a collapsed garment factory building, Savar, Bangladesh, May 3, 2013.
    • The remaining standing part of the collapsed Rana Plaza building collapses during a rescue operation by the army in Savar, Bangladesh, May 2, 2013.
    • Relatives mourn as they look for garment workers, missing after the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Savar, Bangladesh, May 2, 2013.
    • Workers dig mass graves during a burial of unidentified garment workers, who died in the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Savar, Bangladesh, May 1, 2013.
    • A boy covers his nose with a cloth as people gather in front of mass graves during the burial of unidentified garment workers, who died in the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Savar, Bangladesh, May 1, 2013.
    • A woman waits for news of her relative, a garment worker, who is missing after the collapse of Rana Plaza building, in front of missing people posters in Savar, Bangladesh, April 30, 2013.
    • Firefighters and army personnel are blanketed in thick dust after part of the garment factory building collapses after being dislodged as part of the clearing process in Savar, near Dhaka, April 29, 2013.
    • Crowds gather at the collapsed Rana Plaza building as people rescue garment workers trapped in the rubble, Savar, Bangladesh, April 24, 2013.

    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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