Bangladesh Death Toll 385, Recovery Changes Gears
Six days after the deadly building collapse outside of Dhaka, Bangladesh, rescuers are still working to recover any remaining survivors and locate bodies of the deceased. 385 people have been confirmed dead as a result of the collapse. 2,437 have been rescued alive.
Efforts were delayed on Sunday when a spark from a metal grinder caused a fire that injured six workers as they desperately and unsuccessfully tried to save a woman trapped beneath the rubble. On Monday, rescuers began using heavy machinery and hydraulic cranes to remove concrete slabs weighing anywhere between three and 12 tons. The Special Work Organization (SWO) of the Army Engineering Corps, told reporters it will take at least 15 days to remove the debris.
Building owner and local politician, Mohammed Sohel Rana, was taken into police custody on Sunday as he attempted to flee the country into India. Seven others have been arrested in relation to the collapse: four factory bosses, two engineers, and Rana's father. A fifth factory boss is at large. Rana wore a bullet proof vest and helmet as he brought into the Dhaka courthouse while onlookers chanted "Hang him, hang him."
80% of the garment factory workforce in Bangladesh are women who are often responsible for providing for their families. Under grueling working conditions, workers in garment factories can make as little as $26 a month.
Outrage over the conditions of garment factories in Bangladesh gained international headlines in November of 2012 when 112 workers died during a fire in a factory that was producing clothes for Walmart and other Western retailers. An official investigation ruled that the fire was deliberately started and determined that up to nine officials prevented workers from leaving the building and even padlocked exits.
Media Resources: Al Jazeera 4/29/2013; BBC 4/29/2013; Daily Star 4/29/2013; Reuters 4/29/2013; Feminist Newswire 4/26/2013