Bangladesh: Building collapse death toll passes 500
"The death toll now stands at 501," Lieutenant Mir Rabbi of the army control room, which was set up to coordinate the recovery operation.
Protestors demanded the execution of factory bosses over the death of nearly 400 people in a building collapse Wednesday, as May Day became the focus of workers' anger over Bangladesh's worst industrial disaster.
Despite calls by the prime minister for "cool heads", tensions over the country's deadliest industrial disaster showed little sign of abating and there were fears of more violence and vandalism at textile mills.
Several thousand workers holding red banners and flags chanted "Hang the killers, Hang the Factory Owners!" as they took to the streets of Dhaka at the start of a series of nationwide demonstrations on what is a public holiday.
Kamrul Anam, one of the leaders of the Bangladesh Textile and Garments Workers League, said the workers were angry at "the murder" of their colleagues in the April 24 disaster at Savar on the outskirts of Dhaka.
A Bangladesh court has asked the government to confiscate assets belonging to the owner of the factory complex that collapsed last week in the nation’s biggest industrial disaster.
The property and assets belonging to Sohel Rana, owner of the eight-story Rana Plaza that killed at least 387 people when it collapsed, should be seized, as well as those of four owners of garment factories in the complex.
According to earlier media reports, the owners of the Plaza were aware of the dangerous condition of the building, but no action was taken in order to avoid the tragedy.
The collapse of the building in Savar on April 24 is at least the third reported industrial accident in the South Asian nation since November.
The money in the accounts will be used to compensate families of dead and injured workers, the bank said.
A fire broke out in the wreckage of a collapsed Bangladesh factory building Sunday night, killing a woman as she was being pulled from the ruins, the national fire service chief told reporters.
Four firefighters received burns and were taken to the hospital.
The fire broke out when rescuers were trying to reach survivors using specials cutting tools to break through the rubble and for cutting rebar.
Earlier it was reported that the owner of the building, whose collapse caused the deaths of 370 people, was arrested while attempting to cross the border into India.
Bangladeshi police reported that after his arrest Mohammed Sohel Rana, the owner of the buling, was taken by helicopter to the capital.
Law enforcement agencies acorss South Asian states have already arrested six people involved in the tragedy.
Search and rescue operations continue amid reports that there are possibly hundreds still trapped and alive under the rubble.
"The fire broke out at the ruins as we were pulling out what we believe was the final survivor. She died and one of our rescuers was injured in the fire," Ahmed Ali said, as the death toll in the disaster rose to 379.
More than 100 hours after a garment factory block collapsed, rescuers in Bangladesh tunnelled into the rubble Sunday to find a woman whose feeble cries for help raised hopes of more miracles.
"We can hear her noises," shouted a firefighter, who said the woman had given her name as Sakhina Begum. "But three others are in a semi-conscious state.
"By Sunday afternoon, her fight for survival after more than four days under the debris was being broadcast live on private television channels as the operation to free her continued.
The team on hand to pull her to safety included rescuers armed with cutters and drills using air freshener to stifle the smell of decaying bodies, while two doctors were on standby in case an amputation was required.
Many such operations have been performed at the site over the past five days as hundreds of workers from the garment factories inside the collapsed building found themselves pinned down by huge slabs of reinforced concrete.
"Sometimes these survivors are found in such a stage that you need to amputate their limbs to free them from the rubble," Arif Hossain, a surgeon from the National Orthopaedic Hospital who is at the scene, told AFP.
"And instead of using an orthopaedic saw, sometimes you have to use a normal saw," he added.
The team also includes a psychologist to counsel survivors who face immense mental trauma after spending days under the rubble.
The collapse of the eight-storey Rana Plaza on Wednesday killed more than 375 people, with hopes fading of finding many more survivors.
About 2,500 people have been rescued from the site of the worst industrial accident to strike the $20 billion Bangladesh clothing industry, which produces clothes for Western brands.
Voice of Russia, AFP,