Thursday, April 25, 2024

Death toll rises to 243

The death toll in the collapse of the eight-storey Rana Plaza at Savar rose to 265 on Thursday, and the figure was climbing with every passing hour. Bodies were being recovered from under the rubble of the ill-fated building that caved in on Wednesday. The tragedy was deepened by the fact that many people, who were sandwiched between the concrete floors for the last 36 hours and were crying out in desperation for dear life, could not be rescued without amputating either their hands or legs.
“I have a son and a daughter. I want to live. Please do something to get me out of here,” a trapped worker wailed when two rescue workers reached him. “But he cannot be moved from here right now as one of his hands is pressed under a concrete pillar. Before we can rescue him, his hands will have to be severed from his body,” said the helpless volunteers.
Hundreds of rescuers tried frantically to rescue the survivors from the building that caved in on Wednesday morning. Till Thursday evening, 1,500 persons had been rescued alive from the building. The survivors said they saw that scores of bodies of dead workers were still scattered inside the rubble of the building.
Dhaka district police super Habibur Rahman told reporters that 265 bodies have been retrieved till 12:10am from the debris of the building. Besides, 213 bodies have been handed over to the families of the deceased.
Searchers worked through the night, probing the jumbled mass of concrete with drills or just their bare hands, passing water and flashlights to the people pinned inside.
In a press briefing in the afternoon, GOC (9 division) Maj. Gen. Chowdhury Hasan Suhradwardi said, “Let us face the heart-rending incident with patience. The rescue operations will continue until the last person is rescued, either alive or dead.” All measures were being taken to rescue those still stuck inside the building, he said, adding that a total of 1,100 trained army personnel were taking part in the rescue operations.
Many workers, mostly young women, some apparently semi-conscious, were pulled out of the rubble by fire-fighters and troops throughout the day.
According to the army rescue team, there is a gap of two feet between the collapsed floors and hydraulic gear is needed to widen this gap. Since there was a shortage of such gear, the rescue operations could not be accelerated.
A temporary control room has been set up near the Savar Bus Stand to provide information to the distraught families.
Meanwhile, inspector general of police (IGP) Hassan Mahmood Khandker said two industrial police constables — Rafiq and ASI Mukul — are still missing since the tragic incident.
The nation observed a day of mourning to grieve over the worst ever tragedy in the readymade garments (RMG) sector. National flags at all government, semi-government and autonomous institutions were kept at half mast. Preparations were made to offer special prayers at all religious institutions. However, offices and educational institutions were open.
Chief inspector of factories and establishments Habibur Rahman filed five cases with the Labour Court against Sohel Rana, the owner of Rana Plaza, and the owners of four garment factories for building the high-rise in violation of the building codes and for failing to ensure workers’ safety.
The police and Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (RAJUK) filed a couple of cases with the Savar model police station on Wednesday night, accusing the owner of the building and the owners of the five garment factories that had been housed in the massive structure.
It is not clear how many people were inside the building when it collapsed, but estimates suggest around 5,000 people, mostly women, were working in the four garment factories at that time.
Regarding the rescue operations, Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) director Md Shaheenul Islam said, “It is very difficult to say when the rescue operations will end. But we will continue our operations till the last person is rescued.”
Regarding the allegations that there was a shortage of equipment, Islam said, “There isn’t any shortage of modern equipment, but we are unable to use these as many people are trapped inside. If we use these, more lives may be lost. As a result, the operation is being carried out in the traditional way, with small implements and equipment.”
Hamidul Haque, an inhabitant of Savar, went inside the debris to take part in the rescue operations. “It is a grim scenario inside the debris of the building. I found many people, including women, who are still trapped and are crying for help. Many are lying dead. The scene defies description.”
“Many dead bodies are trapped inside and emitting a stench. We cannot go inside without oxygen and light, which is hampering the rescue operations,” said Amir Hossain, another member of the rescue team.
The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has suspended the membership of the five readymade garment units operating inside Rana Plaza in Savar.
Leader of the Opposition and Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia, Jatiya Sangsad chief whip Abdus Shahid, state minister for Liberation War affairs Capt. (retd) AB Tajul Islam and local MP Talukder Towhid Jang Murad visited the spot.
The directorate general of health services has opened a round-the-clock emergency control room at its Mohakhali headquarters to monitor the medical care of those injured in the collapse of the high-rise in Savar.
Reuters adds: Soon after the building collapsed, Canada-based Loblaw came forward to confirm a connection with the building. It said one factory made a small number of ‘Joe Fresh’ apparel items for the company.
“We are extremely saddened to learn of the collapse of a building complex in Bangladesh and our condolences go out to those affected by this tragedy,” Julija Hunter, public relations vice-president for Loblaw Companies, said in an email.
“We will be working with our vendor to understand how we may be able to assist them during this time,” Hunter said. Loblaw Companies Ltd makes Joe Fresh clothing as well as President’s Choice supermarket packaged food. Its parent is the food processing and distribution firm George Weston Ltd, according to information provided by Reuters.
Loblaw said it set vendor standards to ensure that products are made “in a socially responsible way” and conducts regular audits. Those standards include prohibiting child harassment and abuse or forced labour, and ensuring fair pay and benefits. Bangladesh employs around 3.6 million people in the garment industry and is the world’s second-largest apparel exporter.
However, Edward Hertzman, a sourcing agent based in New York, who also publishes the trade magazine ‘Sourcing Journal’, said pressure from US retailers to keep a lid on costs continues to foster unsafe conditions.
Hertzman, whose trade publication has offices in Bangladesh, said New Wave Bottoms Ltd occupied the second floor, Phantom Apparels Ltd the third, Phantom Tack Ltd the fourth and Ethar Textile Ltd the fifth. The New Wave website listed 27 main buyers, including firms from the UK, Denmark, France, Germany, Spain, Ireland, Canada and the US.

-With The Independent  input

Related News

bKash communications chief Mahfuz Sadique dies at 40

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Mahfuz Sadique, chief communications officer of mobile financial services firm bKash, passed away in Bangladesh capital Dhaka Friday morning. He was 40. Mahfuz died around 9:00am while undergoing treatment at a hospital in the capital, bKash said in a statement. Mahfuz, who began his career as a journalist at New Age, ... Read more

Prices for potatoes increase by 229% from the previous year

Prices for potatoes varied from Tk16 to Tk22 per kg at this time last year. News Desk : dhakamirror.com Despite the presence of both new and old potatoes in the market, potato prices have soared by 229% compared to late December last year. According to the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB), the selling price for ... Read more

LGED engineer dead, UNO among 3 injured in Panchagarh car crash

News Desk : dhakamirror.com An engineer of the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) was killed and three other government officials were injured when the vehicle of a UNO hit a roadside tree in Panchagarh Sadar upazila early today. The deceased was identified as Abu Sayed, 33, upazila engineer of LGED from Pirganj upazila of Thakurgaon. ... Read more

UNHCR calls for rescue of Rohingyas stranded in Andaman Sea

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The United Nations (UN) Refugee Agency, UNHCR, has made an urgent appeal to all countries in the region, particularly those in the area surrounding the Andaman Sea, to swiftly deploy their full search and rescue capacities in response to reported vessels in distress with hundreds of Rohingya at risk of perishing. ... Read more

Over 200 RMG workers injured in Comilla while evacuating factory during earthquake

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Over two hundred garment workers in Cumilla’s Chauddagram have been injured while trying to evacuate the factory building of Amir Shirt Garment Limited during today’s earthquake. A 5.5 magnitude earthquake at a depth of 10km jolted Dhaka, and parts of the country at 9:35am today (2 December). The epicentre of the ... Read more

Daughter hacked father to death in Chattogram

News Desk : dhakamirror.com A father was hacked to death by his own daughter during an altercation over a trivial matter at Lohagara upazila in Chattogram on Friday (1 December). The deceased was identified as Abdur Rahman, 50, of Putibila Sarai village under the upazila. Police have detained the daughter, Humaira Begum, 23, soon after ... Read more

HSC results: Dhaka has most GPA-5 achievers, while Barishal has highest pass rate

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Dhaka had the highest number of GPA-5 recipients in the HSC exams, while Barishal Education Board had the highest pass rate among nine educational boards. Education Minister Dipu Moni announced today that the overall pass rate in the nine general boards is 75.90 percent. In terms of pass rates, Barishal ranked ... Read more

PSC postpones 45th BCS written tests

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The Bangladesh Public Service Commission (PSC) has decided to postpone the written tests for the 45th Bangladesh Civil Service examination, which was scheduled to be held on 27 November. The announcement came through a notification signed by Ananda Kumar Biswas, the exam controller of PSC, issued on Friday. PSC held a ... Read more

After stabbing younger sister to death woman ‘kills herself’ in Hazaribagh

News Desk : dhakamirror.com A woman reportedly killed herself after stabbing her younger sister to death in the capital’s Hazaribagh area today. Police said the incident took place in the Kalunagar area at around 12am on Monday (13 November). The deceased have been identified as Jasmine Akhtar, 44, and her younger sister Nasreen Akhtar, 30. ... Read more

Oman stops issuing new visas to citizens of Bangladesh

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The Sultanate of Oman has suspended the issuance of visas across all categories for Bangladeshi nationals, the Royal Oman Police (ROP) said on Tuesday. The decision was effective from Tuesday, reported Oman-based English newspaper the Times of Oman referring to the Royal Oman Police. The report said that the ROP confirmed ... Read more

Dhaka girl Nupur takes over as chairman of Unilever for a day

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Seventeen-year-old Nupur from Dhaka, had the opportunity to take over Unilever’s chairman position for one day on Thursday. There, she symbolically carried out the roles and responsibilities of Zaved Akhtar, the chairman and managing director of Unilever Bangladesh, said a press release. Nupur being an active youth club member, works for ... Read more

Hospitals must follow guidelines, orders HC

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The High Court on Thursday asked the government to take steps to make it compulsory to follow the relevant guidelines for the prevention of performing unnecessary caesarean section surgery at government and private hospitals and clinics. The court has also directed the government to widely circulate the guidelines within six months. ... Read more

Woman delivers birth to five babies at DMCH

News Desk : dhakamirror.com A woman has given birth to five premature babies. The quintuplets were born at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) at 10am on Thursday to Mansura Begum, 22, the wife of CNG driver Md Mamun from Bandardia village in Shibpur upazila of Narsingdi district. One of the newborns, however, died shortly ... Read more

Tk8.44 cr fine imposed to Kazi Farms, 3.44 crore to Suguna Food

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The Bangladesh Competition Commission has fined Kazi Farms Group and Saguna Food and Feeds on charges of market manipulation causing abnormal rise in broiler chicken prices. BCC officials said that the companies must deposit the fine amount to the BCC within 10 working days. If they fail to deposit the fine ... Read more

Heritage volunteers visit national museum

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The heritage volunteers participating in UNESCO World Heritage Volunteers Programme 2023 visited national museum in Dhaka on Sunday. The ten-day workshop programme organised by Nagar Upakhyan-Perceive started on October 1, said a press release. The Heritage volunteers’ team visited national museum which is on the UNESCO World Heritage tentative list on ... Read more

Fare for Bangladesh-India trains to increase from November 10

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Ticket prices of three inter-country trains on Bangladesh-India routes are going to be hiked from November 10. The fares are going to increase due to high exchange rate of US dollar and rising travel tax, according to the Bangladesh Railway officials. The trains are – Maitree Express on Dhaka-Kolkata, Bandhan Express ... Read more

Man, nephew killed by lightning

News Desk : dhakamirror.com A man and his nephew were struck by lightning in Satarbari village of Longair union under Gafargaon upazila of Mymensingh yesterday. The deceased were identified as Sohel Mondol, 40, a trader of pharmaceutical drugs, and his nephew Razib Mondol, 35 a rice trader in the village. Quoting locals, Raju Ahmed, officer-in-charge ... Read more

TV sales decline despite World Cup: Is streaming to blame?

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 captures the attention of sports enthusiasts across the world and an intriguing trend is emerging in Bangladesh’s television market. While events of this magnitude have traditionally led to an increase in TV sales, recent figures from September show a 30% decline compared to the same ... Read more

Heritage volunteers visit Paharpur archaeological museum

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The heritage volunteers participating in UNESCO World Heritage Volunteers Programme 2023 visited Paharpur archaeological museum in Naogaon on Friday. The ten-day workshop programme organised by Nagar Upakhyan-Perceive started on October 1, said a press release. The Heritage volunteers’ team visited Paharpur archaeological museum which is on the UNESCO World Heritage tentative ... Read more

Child among three dead as mud walls collapsed in rain in Gazipur

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Three people including an eight-year-old child died in separate incidents of mud walls collapsing during heavy rain in Sadar and Kaliakoir upazilas of Gazipur. The deceased are Faridul Islam, 8, son of Matiur Rahmon of Konabari Baimile under Sadar upazila, and Imarat Hossain, 65, and his wife Achia Begum, 56, of ... Read more