Published: Thursday, May 2, 2013

SAVAR BUILDING COLLAPSE

Death toll rises to 442

Relatives mourn as they look for a garment worker, who went missing after the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Savar, outside Dhaka on Thursday. Photo: Reuters

Relatives mourn as they look for a garment worker, who went missing after the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Savar, outside Dhaka on Thursday. Photo: Reuters

The death toll from the April 24 building collapse in Savar reached 442 on Thursday when the rescuers have continued their drive using heavy equipments.

So far 2,868 people were pulled out both alive and dead from the debris of the collapsed nine-storey building, Shahinul Islam, director of the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), told reports during a press briefing at the Savar site.

“A responsible section has been spreading propaganda saying that many bodies have been concealed. This comment is not only hurting the relatives of the victims who remain still untraced, but also the rescuers, he said.

“The false allegation is very sad,” he told reporters during the briefing.

The exact number of the missing people still remains unknown as BGMEA could not provide an accurate list of the workers, he added.

The army, which is dealing with the rescue operation, arranged a milad mahfil at Savar for the victims.

On Thursday morning, rescuers pulled out several bodies removing the debris of the nine-storey Rana Plaza.

No person was rescued alive in the last three days, keeping the figure of survivors unchanged at 2,437.

The frantic search and rescue operation however is going on in full swing when the rescue operation stepped into ninth consecutive day.

On Thursday, the rescuers were seen conducting operation in the front portion of the collapsed building using four hydraulic cranes.

People believe that unnumbered decomposed bodies remain stuck in concrete slabs of the sandwiched building.

The number of death toll might rise when the rescuers would manage to go into the tightly packed unexplored floors of the building, locals said.

On April 24, the nine-storey Savar building housing five garment factories, a branch of Brac Bank and a shopping mall collapsed, trapping several thousand people, mostly garment workers, inside it.

“It could take another 12 to 15 days to remove the debris if a concerted effort is made,” Lt Col Moin Uddin of Third Engineering Battalion (Savar Cantonment) earlier told The Daily Star.

However, it might not be possible as the rescuers become careful whenever a body is found, he mentioned.