Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FASHION

Jean-Marc Loubier, bags and shoes.

Read more

#THE 51%

Breaking stereotypes

Read more

REVISITED

In Prijedor, survivors fight to keep memory alive

Read more

FOCUS

Bosnia: Hopes of change among disempowered citizens

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

¡Gracias, Gabo!

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

The Socialist rebellion grows

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Algerian election: Bouteflika votes in wheelchair

Read more

REPORTERS

Indian election: Votes for sale

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Can Weibo win over US investors?

Read more

  • Abel Ferrara’s hotly awaited DSK film to premiere on web

    Read more

  • Police seek arrest warrant for South Korea ferry captain

    Read more

  • Top Hollande adviser resigns over conflict of interest accusation

    Read more

  • In Prijedor, survivors fight to keep memory alive

    Read more

  • Indian election: Votes for sale

    Read more

  • Video: Tensions remain high in Mariupol despite Geneva deal

    Read more

  • Astronomers discover Earth-like planet that could support life

    Read more

  • West African Ebola outbreak caused by new strain of virus

    Read more

  • Nobel-winning Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez dies at 87

    Read more

  • Deadly avalanche strikes Everest in worst-ever disaster

    Read more

  • With a strong French presence, veterans and fresh faces, Cannes aims to please

    Read more

  • Low turnout reported in Algeria as Bouteflika seeks fourth term

    Read more

  • Russia and West agree on steps to ease Ukraine crisis

    Read more

  • Mob launches deadly attack on UN shelter for S. Sudan civilians

    Read more

  • Eurostar train mishap causes 'severe' delays

    Read more

  • Chelsea Clinton announces she's pregnant

    Read more

  • French troops free five aid workers kidnapped in Mali by Islamists

    Read more

  • In pictures: Iranian woman pardons son’s killer at the gallows

    Read more

  • After cup defeat, Spanish pundits read last rites for Barcelona

    Read more

  • India heads to polls in single largest day of voting

    Read more

  • Ukraine talks open in Geneva as Putin talks tough on TV

    Read more

  • Pro-Russian separatists killed in attack on Black Sea base

    Read more

  • Man executed in Texas for 2002 triple murder

    Read more

  • Scandal-hit French doctor Jacques Servier dies at 92

    Read more

  • Belgian head of wildlife reserve shot in DR Congo

    Read more

Asia-pacific

Dozens of survivors found in deadly Bangladesh building collapse

© AFP

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-04-25

Rescuers crawling through the rubble of a collapsed garment factory in Bangladesh found 24 survivors on Thursday. At least 247 people have been killed in the disaster, with hundreds more missing.

Dozens of workers huddling together in the wreckage of a collapsed garment factory bloc in Bangladesh were found alive late Thursday, a rare success for rescuers who have pulled out more than 247 corpses.

In an announcement greeted by wild applause from thousands of relatives at the scene, an army spokesman initially announced that 40 survivors had been discovered together in a room, but the figure was later revised to 24.

Screams filtering through the cracks in the concrete suggested more survivors were awaiting help, but a steady stream of bodies saw the recorded death toll almost double on Thursday and hundreds more remain unaccounted for.

The collapse of the building on Wednesday on the outskirts of the capital is the worst industrial accident in the country's history and is the latest in a spate of tragedies in the "Made in Bangladesh" clothing sector.

It prompted new criticism of Western brands who were accused by activists of placing profit before safety by sourcing their products from the country despite its shocking track record of deadly disasters.

Hundreds of thousands of workers walked out of their factories in solidarity with their dead colleagues on Thursday as flags flew at half mast and a national day of mourning was held.

"We've got 247 dead but many more are feared trapped under the ruins," senior police officer Moshiuddowla Reza told AFP, adding most of the deceased were from the 3,000-strong mostly female workforce in the building's garment factories.

Safety problems and poor working conditions plague the textile industry in Bangladesh, the world's second-biggest clothing exporter after China.

Last November a blaze at a factory making products for Walmart and other Western labels left 111 people dead, with survivors describing how fire exits were kept locked by site managers.

Only British low-cost fashion line Primark and Spanish giant Mango have acknowledged having their products made in the collapsed factory bloc, while a host of brands including Wal-Mart and France's Carrefour are investigating.

Italian fashion line Benetton denied having a supplier in the building but a local workers' group provided documents showing apparent orders from the company in August and September last year.

The company did not reply to repeated requests from AFP for comment.

Survivors and police said the building developed visible cracks on Tuesday evening, but factory bosses had demanded staff return to the production lines despite a police evacuation order.

One manager for the New Wave Styles company, one of the five manufacturers in the building, told how the owner had consulted an engineer but then ignored his warnings.

"Those who're involved, especially the owner who forced the workers to work there, will be punished," Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told lawmakers. "Wherever he is, he will be found and brought to justice."

At the scene of the disaster, relatives desperate for news descended on the scene in their thousands, clutching photographs and hoping to see their missing loved ones pulled out by the firemen and soldiers taking part in rescue efforts. "I became so thirsty that at one stage I drank my urine," said an ecstatic Abul Hossain, 23, as he was dragged from the ruins more than 25 hours after the disaster struck at around 09:00 am (0300 GMT) on Wednesday.

But others were less lucky, with body after body laid out on the grounds of a nearby school for identification.

"I've seen all the bodies. My sister was not among them. She is also not in any of the hospitals," said Mukta Begum, holding the photo of her younger sibling Suryaban, a garment worker.

Babul Akhter, head of the Bangladesh Garments and Industrial Workers Federation, told AFP that the factory owners -- who have gone into hiding -- would likely escape justice despite the outcry.

"Garment entrepreneurs are above the law here. There is hardly any example of an owner being prosecuted for this kind of outright murder," he said.

"The Western retailers are also complicit because they give a blind eye to the manufacturers' shoddy practices."

Before the 24 were found, Ahmed Ali, the national fire service chief, told AFP that 20 people had been rescued.

"We could still hear desperate cries for help from several places underneath the concrete heaps. Volunteers sent food and water to them through holes," he said, adding that rescuers would work through the night under floodlights.

"We're confident we can find more people alive even on Friday."

(AFP)

Date created : 2013-04-25

  • BANGLADESH

    Scores dead in Bangladesh building collapse

    Read more

  • BANGLADESH

    Bangladesh factory fire act of sabotage, inquiry says

    Read more

  • INDIA

    Dozens killed in Mumbai building collapse

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)