Dozens killed in Bangladesh factory building collapse

Dozens killed in Bangladesh factory building collapse
By Serajul Quadir and Ruma Paul, Reuters

People rescue garment workers trapped under rubble at the Rana Plaza building after it collapsed, in Savar, 30 km (19 miles) outside Dhaka April 24, 2013. REUTERS/Andrew Biraj

DHAKA - An eight-storey block housing garment factories and a shopping centre collapsed on the outskirts of the Bangladeshi capital on Wednesday, killing nearly 100 people and injuring hundreds more, officials said.
Firefighters and army personnel worked frantically through the day at the Rana Plaza building in Savar, 30 km (19 miles) outside Dhaka, to rescue people trapped in the rubble. Television showed young women workers, some apparently semi-conscious, being pulled from the debris.
One fireman told Reuters that about 2,000 people were in the building when the upper floors jolted down on top of each other.
Bangladesh’s booming garment industry has been plagued by fires and other accidents for years, despite a drive to improve safety standards. In November last year, 112 workers were killed in a blaze at the Tazreen factory in a nearby industrial suburb.
“It looks like an earthquake has struck here,” said one resident as he looked on at the chaotic scene of smashed concrete and ambulances making their way through the crowds of workers and wailing relatives.
“I was at work on the third floor, and then suddenly I heard a deafening sound, but couldn’t understand what was happening. I ran and was hit by something on my head,” said Zohra Begum, a worker at one of the factories.

An official at a control room set up to provide information about the missing and injured said that 96 people were confirmed dead and more than 700 were injured.
Mohammad Asaduzzaman, in charge of the area’s police station, said factory owners appeared to have ignored a warning not to allow their workers into the building after a crack was detected in the block on Tuesday.
Five garment factories - employing mostly women - were housed in the building, including Ether Tex Ltd., whose chairman told Reuters he was unaware of any warnings not to open the workshops.
“There were some crack at the second floor, but my factory was on the fifth floor,” said Muhammad Anisur Rahman. “The owner of the building told our floor manager that it is not a problem and so you can open the factory.”
He said that his firm had been sub-contracted to supply Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the world’s largest retailer, and Europe’s C&A.
Last November’s factory fire put a spotlight on global retailers that source clothes from Bangladesh, where low wages - as little as $37 a month for some workers - have helped propel the country to no. 2 in the ranks of apparel exporters.
It emerged later that a Wal-Mart supplier had subcontracted work to the Tazreen factory without authorization.
Buildings in the crowded city of Dhaka are sometimes erected without permission and many do not comply with construction regulations. Dozens died when a garment factory collapsed in the same area eight years ago.

Dozens killed in Bangladesh factory building collapse - World -

Beyond horrific and completely inexcusable. I'll bet no engineers will be charged on this one.
An eight story concrete and brick building in any western country would have tons of steel rebar reinforcing that concrete. When a
reinforced concrete building collapses for whatever reason, there is generally rebar sticking out of everything. I've looked at quite a
few pictures and the rebar seems to be missing. Was it left out to save money?
Things like that happen all the time on the Indian Subcontinent.
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Another example of international trade going a miss. We will do anything for a ten
dollar shirt, even put foreign workers at risk because the companies could never
get away with that here. I think every time that happens we should hold national
companies responsible for their action at the cash register.
There is nothing to stop the companies here and in the West from saying all structures
must meet the same standards, there as they would here, before they took possession
of the facility.
The time has come to examine where our products come from and the conditions those
people work under. Why you ask? Because if they are allowed to get away with it over
there they will want the same shoddy working conditions over here eventually.
There are some companies better than others but we must ensure they are ethical and
right now people couldn't care less unfortunately. Now where is that ten dollar shirt
Bangladesh is extremely overcrowded. It's exactly the same size as England & Wales but has a population of 161 million compared to the 57 million denizens of England & Wales. Buildings in Bangladesh just collapse with the sheer weight of people that are in them.
Quote: Originally Posted by damngrumpy View Post

There are some companies better than others but we must ensure they are ethical and
right now people couldn't care less unfortunately. Now where is that ten dollar shirt

I have a friend who went to supervise the building of their new offshore rig in South Korea.

His company had a strict policy that they were not allowed IN the ship yard, they were only allowed to give notes and direction from outside the yard, because there was a fatality rate of one at least one person.... per the ship yard.

(this is part of why I have a hard time listening to people who oppose oil sands but don't stop using petroleum, because while the environmental impact sucks, we at least work pretty hard to keep people alive)
So how would one go about constructing a substandard illegal building ? Buy bribing the poverty wage inspectors........

A fire broke out late Sunday in the wreckage of the garment factory that collapsed last week outside the Bangladeshi capital, with smoke pouring from the piles of shattered concrete and some of the rescue efforts forced to stop.

The fire came hours after the owner of the illegally constructed building was captured Sunday trying to cross the border into India.

Mohammed Sohel Rana was arrested in Benapole in western Bangladesh, just as he was about to flee into India’s West Bengal state, said Jahangir Kabir Nanak, junior minister for local government.

Rana was brought back by helicopter to the capital Dhaka, where he faces charges of negligence.

Rana’s capture brought cheers and applause when it was announced on a loudspeaker at the site of the collapsed building in the Dhaka suburb of Savar.

At least 377 people are confirmed to have died in the Wednesday collapse. The death toll is expected to rise but it is already the deadliest tragedy to hit Bangladesh’s garment industry, which is worth $20 billion annually and is a mainstay of the economy.

On Friday, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed ordered the arrest of the owners of five factories located in Rana Plaza. Six people have been taken into custody in connection with the collapse, including Rana’s wife.

The collapse and previous disasters in garment factories have focused attention on the poor working conditions of workers who toil for as little as $38 a month to produce clothing for top international brands.


Bangladesh factory collapse: Fire breaks out in wreckage | Toronto Star

Woman pulled alive from Bangladesh rubble

By Rafiqur Rahman, Reuters

SAVAR, Bangladesh - Rescuers pulled a woman on Friday from the rubble of a Bangladesh garment factory 17 days after it collapsed, astonishing workmen who had been searching for bodies of victims of a disaster that has killed more than 1,000 people.
Hundreds of onlookers burst into cheers as army engineers pulled the woman from the basement of the building after a workman helping to clear the wreckage reported hearing her faint cries of “Save me, save me” from beneath the ruins.
Pale, drawn and seemingly unable to walk, the woman, identified by Bangladeshi media only as Reshma, was hoisted out of the rubble on a stretcher, then loaded into an ambulance in scenes broadcast live on television.
Mohammad Rubel Rana, a workman who had been cutting iron rods, said he had alerted rescue crews after hearing a feeble voice.
“I heard a faint voice saying ’Save me, Save me’,” Rana told Reuters television. “She was given water, biscuits and oxygen.” “She has been rescued and taken to a military hospital,” said Bangladesh’s army spokesman Shahinul Islam.

Woman pulled alive from Bangladesh rubble - World -

Wow! After 17 days!
Yeah, I hear the owner's trying to charge her rent.