DHAKA (Reuters): The death toll from the catastrophic collapse of a Bangladesh factory building, the world’s worst industrial accident since the Bhopal disaster in India in 1984, has climbed above 1,000 and more bodies might still be trapped inside as rescuers struggle to end the salvage operation.
More than two weeks after the accident, bodies were still being pulled from the rubble of the Rana Plaza complex, and on Friday a spokesman at the Army control room coordinating the operation said the number of people confirmed to have been killed had reached 1,038.
A series of deadly incidents at factories have focused global attention on safety standards in Bangladesh’s booming garment industry. Eight people were killed in a fire at a factory this week, which an industry association said on Friday, may have been started deliberately.
Roughly 2,500 people were rescued from Rana Plaza, in the industrial suburb of Savar, around 20 miles northwest of Dhaka, including many injured, but there is no official estimate of the numbers still missing.
The disaster, believed to have been triggered when generators were started up during a blackout, has put the spotlight on Western retailers who use the impoverished South Asian nation as a source of cheap goods. Nine people have been arrested in connection with the disaster, including the building’s owner and bosses of the factories it housed.
Hundreds of relatives were still gathered at the site, some holding up photographs of family members. Rescue workers have found it increasingly difficult to identify decomposing bodies and are using ID cards found on them or even their mobile phones to do so.