Death toll of Bangladesh building collapse crosses 800

The body count is expected to rise as rescue workers continue to sift through the wreckage

Topics: Associated Press, Bangladesh, DNA, Dhaka Medical College Hospital, Garment Factory Collapse, Garment Industry, ,

Death toll of Bangladesh building collapse crosses 800Workers off-load coffins at a morgue on Wednesday May 1, 2013 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. (Credit: AP/Ismail Ferdous)

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Dozens of bodies recovered Wednesday from a collapsed garment factory building were so decomposed they were being sent to a lab for DNA identification, police said, as the death toll from Bangladesh’s worst industrial disaster topped 800.

Following protests, authorities also began disbursing salaries and other benefits to survivors of the collapse.

Police said 803 bodies had been recovered from the wreckage of the eight-story Rana Plaza building by late afternoon and more were expected as salvage work continued two weeks after the April 24 collapse.

There is no clear indication of how many bodies still remain trapped in the debris because the exact number of people inside the building at the time of the collapse is unknown. More than 2,500 people were rescued alive.

The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association earlier said 3,122 workers were employed at the five factories housed in the building, but it was not clear how many were there during the packed morning shift when it collapsed.

Maj. Gen. Chowdhury Hasan Suhrawardy, a top military official in the area, said the operation to recover bodies from the tangle of wreckage could continue for two to three more days before they would ask the local administration to take care of the site.

Suhrawardy said they had to send 36 decomposing bodies to Dhaka Medical College Hospital to collect DNA samples because they were beyond identification. Authorities expected to send more bodies for testing in the coming days, with temperatures in the high 80s Fahrenheit (low 30s Celsius) and rain pouring down.

The disaster is the worst ever in the garment sector, far surpassing fires last year that killed about 260 people in Pakistan and 112 in Bangladesh, as well as the 1911 garment disaster in New York’s Triangle Shirtwaist factory that killed 146 workers.

You Might Also Like

After hundreds of garment workers protested for compensation Tuesday, authorities started disbursing salaries and other benefits.

Suhrawardy said some 400 workers gathered Tuesday night to receive dues and benefits.

Rafiqul Islam, a BGMEA official, said the disbursement would continue in phases.

Islam said they planned to meet with workers’ representatives later Wednesday to discuss how to reach out to victims for proper disbursement of compensation and other financial aid.

The workers, many of whom made little more than the national minimum wage of about $38 per month, are demanding at least four months’ salary. They had set Tuesday as a deadline for the payment of wages and other benefits.

Local government administrator Yousuf Harun has said no salary remained unpaid except for the month of April and there was an agreement for the workers to receive an additional three months of pay.

The BGMEA said Monday that it was preparing a complete list of workers employed in the Rana Plaza factories and the process would take a few more days.

Bangladesh earns nearly $20 billion a year from exports of garment products, mainly to the United States and Europe.

Officials say the building’s owner illegally added three floors and allowed the garment factories to install heavy machines and generators, even though the structure was not designed to support such equipment.

The owner and eight other people including the owners of the garment factories have been detained.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 13
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    DAYA  
    Young Daya has yet to become entirely jaded, but she has the character's trademark skeptical pout down pat. And with a piece-of-work mother like Aleida -- who oscillates between jealousy and scorn for her creatively gifted daughter, chucking out the artwork she brings home from summer camp -- who can blame her?

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    MORELLO   
    With her marriage to prison penpal Vince Muccio, Lorna finally got to wear the white veil she has fantasized about since childhood (even if it was made of toilet paper).

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    CINDY   
    Cindy's embrace of Judaism makes sense when we see her childhood, lived under the fist of a terrifying father who preached a fire-and-brimstone version of Christianity. As she put it: "I was raised in a church where I was told to believe and pray. And if I was bad, I’d go to hell."

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    CAPUTO   
    Joey Caputo has always tried to be a good guy, whether it's offering to fight a disabled wrestler at a high school wrestling event or giving up his musical ambitions to raise another man's child. But trying to be a nice guy never exactly worked out for him -- which might explain why he decides to take the selfish route in the Season 3 finale.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    BOO   
    In one of the season's more moving flashbacks, we see a young Boo -- who rejected the traditional trappings of femininity from a young age -- clashing with her mother over what to wear. Later, she makes the decision not to visit her mother on her deathbed if it means pretending to be something she's not. As she puts it, "I refuse to be invisible, Daddy. Not for you, not for Mom, not for anybody.”

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    SOSO
    We still don't know what landed Brooke Soso in the slammer, but a late-season flashback suggests that some seriously overbearing parenting may have been the impetus for her downward spiral.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    POUSSEY
    We already know a little about Poussey's relationship with her military father, but this season we saw a softer side of the spunky fan-favorite, who still pines for the loving mom that she lost too young.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    PENNSATUCKY
    Pennsatucky had something of a redemption arc this season, and glimpses of her childhood only serve to increase viewer sympathy for the character, whose mother forced her to chug Mountain Dew outside the Social Security Administration office and stripped her of her sexual agency before she was even old enough to comprehend it.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    CHANG
    This season, we got an intense look at the teenage life of one of Litchfield's most isolated and underexplored inmates. Rebuffed and scorned by her suitor at an arranged marriage, the young Chinese immigrant stored up a grudge, and ultimately exacted a merciless revenge.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    HEALY
    It's difficult to sympathize with the racist, misogynist CO Sam Healy, but the snippets we get of his childhood -- raised by a mentally ill mother, vomited on by a homeless man he mistakes for Jesus when he runs to the church for help -- certainly help us understand him better.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    NORMA
    This season, we learned a lot about one of Litchfield's biggest enigmas, as we saw the roots of Norma's silence (a childhood stutter) and the reason for her incarceration (killing the oppressive cult leader she followed for decades).

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    NICKI
    While Nicki's mother certainly isn't entirely to blame for her daughter's struggles with addiction, an early childhood flashback -- of an adorable young Nicki being rebuffed on Mother's Day -- certainly helps us understand the roots of Nicki's scarred psyche.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>