Bangladesh garment factory collapse death toll rises to 1,129

By Agence France-Presse
Sunday, May 26, 2013 14:39 EDT
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Bangladeshi Army personnel use heavy equipment as they continue to clear debris after an eight-storey building collapsed in Savar, on the outskirts of Dhaka, on May 13, 2013. (AFP)
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The death toll from the collapse of a Bangladesh garment factory complex has risen to 1,129 after two more injured workers died a month after the disaster, officials said on Sunday.

Senior government official Zillur Rahman Chowdhury told AFP one male and one female victim of one of the world’s worst industrial disasters had died in hospital.

“They were rescued alive from the rubble and were undergoing treatment but succumbed to injuries, one on Friday and the other on Saturday,” Chowdhury said.

More than 3,000 garment workers were on shift at the nine-storey Rana Plaza complex, where they made clothing for Western retailers including Britain’s Primark and Spain’s Mango, when the building caved in on April 24.

Authorities called off the search for bodies on May 14 after rescuing a total of 2,438 people from the ruins of the building, which housed five garment factories in the Dhaka suburb of Savar.

An 18-year-old garment worker known only as Reshma was the last to be pulled out alive on May 10 after she spent 17 days under the rubble. She is recovering at a military hospital.

Scores of distraught relatives are still waiting for news of missing loved ones a month after the disaster, as 316 people are still formally unaccounted for.

Many of them are thought to be bodies recovered from the rubble, which were too badly damaged or decomposed to identify.

They were buried at a graveyard in Dhaka after DNA samples were collected. These will be matched later on with relatives’ DNA to confirm identity and compensate families.

The tragedy, which highlighted appalling safety conditions in the sector, was the latest in a string of deadly accidents to hit the world’s second largest garment industry.

A factory fire in Dhaka killed eight people on May 9. Another fire last November killed 111 garment workers, the worst blaze in the history of the country’s textile industry.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
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