By Dawn Cranfield
Bangladesh Building Collapses Killing Over 100
Tuesday, workers were told not to report to work in an eight-story building in Dhaka, Bangladesh, due to a crack that had appeared on the building’s seventh floor. However, the owners of the factory later reversed their decision, leading to the death of at least 123 people and injuring hundreds more.
Wednesday morning, the building collapsed around 9 am; with some estimating that 1,000 or more workers have already been pulled from the rubble and as many as 5,000 people may have been in the building at the time of the failure. Rescue efforts are continuing.
“The Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association said five garment manufacturers — employing some 2,500 workers — were based in the building, though not all of them were present at the time of the collapse.” (cnn.com)
Not all of the employees of the building had returned; the Savar branch of BRAC Bank evacuated their employees after learning of the crack on Tuesday and ordered them not to return to work on Wednesday. None of BRAC’s employees were among the injured or dead.
As bad as the tragedy has been, it could have been worse; fortunately, there was a general strike located in a shopping center on the building’s first two floors.
“The fact is we don’t know yet how many people were killed actually … but I can tell you the building was not built in compliance with the (safety) rules and regulations,” said Home Minister Mohiuddin Khan Alamgi. “Stern legal actions will be taken against the people who built the structure defying the codes or laws.” (cnn.com)
So far, six hundred people have been taken to local hospitals in Savar and Dhaka, and to a nearby military hospital. There are 30 emergency medical teams and groups of rescue paramedics and doctors treating patients at the scene in temporary tents. A doctor at one of the hospital has commented that some of the victims have lost limbs including their hands.
Some survivors of Wednesday’s tragedy say there was no warning to the catastrophe, “I was at work on the third floor, and then suddenly I heard a deafening sound, but couldn’t understand what was happening. I ran and was hit by something on my head,” according to Zohra Begum, factory worker. (guardian.co)
Rescue efforts are proceeding slowing to avoid any further collapse of the building.
This most recent tragedy comes after a major fire destroyed a clothing factory in the suburb of Dhaka in November of 2012, killing at least 112. The fire ripped through the factory where there were no avenues of egress, no exterior fire escapes.
The commercial building housed three garment units, a branch of a bank and some 300 shops, the national news agency reported.
There will be a national day of mourning on Thursday.