Friday, May 10, 2013

Death Toll Passes 1,000 in Bangladesh Collapse

The death toll from the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh rose above 1,000 victims on Friday, as work crews continued clearing debris from the wreckage site of the building following what is considered the deadliest accident in the history of the garment industry.

The death toll, now at 1,021, has been rising quickly in recent days, and will likely keep climbing, as work crews using heavy machinery are now removing rubble from some of the most heavily damaged sections of the building. Five garment factories operated inside the structure and at least 3,000 people were reportedly working inside when the building collapsed on the morning of April 24.

Located in an industrial suburb of Dhaka, the national capital, Rana Plaza exemplified many of safety problems plaguing a Bangladeshi garment industry that is now the world’s second-leading exporter, trailing only China. Authorities in Bangladesh now say the building was illegally constructed, with permits obtained through political influence. The owner, Sohel Rana, now in jail, was illegally adding upper floors to structure at the time the building collapsed, officials said.