News / Asia

    Bangladeshi Minister: Factory Collapse Not 'Serious'

    Workers and army personnel toil in the collapsed garment factory building in search for bodies, May 2, 2013 in Savar, near Dhaka, Bangladesh.
    Workers and army personnel toil in the collapsed garment factory building in search for bodies, May 2, 2013 in Savar, near Dhaka, Bangladesh.
    VOA News
    Bangladesh's finance minister says last week's collapse of a garment factory building is not "really serious," as the death toll from the incident topped 500.

    Abul Maal Abdul Muhith said Friday the collapse was an "accident," and that he is "not worried" that it will influence foreign garment retailers to leave the country.  He said such incidents happen everywhere.

    Bangladesh's $20 billion textile industry accounts for nearly 80 percent of the country's exports.

    Deadly Accidents in Bangladesh

    April 2013: Building housing garment factories in Savar collapses, kills 1,127
    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
    Meanwhile, police in Bangladesh arrested an engineer who warned of cracks in the eight-story factory complex near Dhaka.

    Police say they arrested Abdur Razzak Khan because of his role in the building's construction.  Nine people have now been arrested since the factory collapsed on April 24.  Among the detainees were the owner of the building, the owners of several factories housed inside, and engineers responsible for the building's construction.

    Police said Friday the death toll was up to 501, as new bodies were discovered in the ruins.
    Deadly Building Collapses Since 1990

    • 1,127 dead, Rana Plaza, Bangladesh, April 24, 2013
    • 502 dead, Sampoong department store, South Korea, June 29, 1995
    • 135 dead, Royal Plaza Hotel, Thailand, August 13, 1993
    • 100 dead, Saque Comprehensive College, Nigeria, June 16, 1990
    • 92 dead, apartment building, Turkey, February 2, 2004

    On Thursday, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told the U.S. television network CNN her country's garment industry is beset with problems.  But she said her government is moving to fix them, noting a committee has been formed to ensure the safety of buildings and workers.

    Also Thursday, the nation's textile industry reopened, a week after the building collapse.

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



    • 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.

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