News / Asia

Retailers Promise Compensation to Bangladesh Disaster Victims

A shopper passes demonstrators outside clothing retailer Primark in central London, April 27, 2013.
A shopper passes demonstrators outside clothing retailer Primark in central London, April 27, 2013.
VOA News
Two Western retailers have promised to pay compensation to victims of the Bangladesh factory building collapse who worked for their suppliers. 

Britain's Primark and Canada's Loblaw said Monday they are working to ensure immediate and long-term assistance to the victims and their families. The building housed several garment factories.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina visited the building site Monday for the first time since the accident, as the death toll surpassed 380 people. 

The building in Savar, outside the capital, Dhaka, collapsed Wednesday. 

Workers in Bangladesh are now using heavy equipment to clear the site.


  • 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.

On Sunday, authorities arrested building owner Mohammed Sohel Rana who had been missing since the collapse.  He was taken into custody near the Indian border.  Officials say Rana's father, as well as plant bosses and engineers have also been arrested. 

Authorities 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.

Police say Rana and factory managers ignored official warnings for people to evacuate the building after inspectors found cracks in it during an inspection Tuesday.

In the days since the collapse, garment workers have been staging street protests in the streets of Dhaka to demand better working conditions and safety standards for the garment industry.

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

A fire at another garment factory in Bangladesh killed more than 100 workers in November.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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