The death toll from the Rana Plaza collapse reached 819 on Wednesday as rescuers were still recovering bodies in the second phase of rescue operation that began on April 29 with heavy equipment.
Seventy-five bodies were recovered between midnight past Tuesday and 9:00pm on Wednesday, according to the district administration control room.Rescuers, officials said, are now pulling out bodies, mostly reduced to skeletons,
from under the rubble of the eight-storey Rana Plaza at Savar that collapsed in the morning on April 24. The building housed five clothing factories.
Executive magistrate Jitendrakumar Nath at the control room of the district administration
said that the 819 bodies had been recovered till 9:00pm Wednesday, with 11 people who were rescued alive dying so far in hospital.
Several hundred people were were still roaming about the nearby Adharchandra High School ground looking for members of their families still feared missing.
Monowara Sarker, director of the tracing department of Bangladesh Red Crescent Society, said that they had received reports of 453 people still feared missing. ‘But the number is decreasing after cross-checking,’ she told New Age on Wednesday evening.
The volunteers in the school ground said that many people waiting
there were facing health problems but no
medical service was being given to them, especially at night.
On 15th day of the rescue operation, the army officials, working at the site, said that they were hoping to wrap up the operation on their part in two or three days and the charge would be handed over to the district administration.
They said that about 3,500 tonnes of debris had so far been removed from the spot, which might account for 65 per cent of the total estimated work.
Lieutenant Colonel Saiful Islam, a member of the Engineering Brigade in the operation, told New Age, ‘But it depends on the rate of the recovery of bodies from the debris.’
Fire Service and Civil Defence deputy director ABM Nurul Haque, however, on Wednesday said that they were trying to go down to the basement of the building.
Rescuers, who have been working round-the-clock, said that rain had hampered the rescue job on the day while volunteers helping people to identify bodies were also suffering for lack of logistic supports.
Rescuers, who removed debris now standing two-floor high amid heavy rainfall on Wednesday, found bodies both in the back and the front of the building.
The army has started monitoring the whole rescue operation with close-circuit television cameras. It has imposed restrictions on the movement in the rear and the front of the site.
The control room said that 2,437 people had so far been rescued alive from the debris.
Fifteen bodies were lying in morgues at Dhaka Medical College and Sir Salimullah Medical College morgues while 24 bodies were lying in the nearby Adharchandra High School ground for identification and handover, the district administration said.
More than fifty coffins were taken to the Adharchandra school ground on Wednesday, said Akhteruzzaman Bhuiyan Shahin, a Rover Scout helping in body identification and handover.
The district administration control room said that some 600 bodies had so far been handed over to families. The families were given Tk 20,000 for the burial of each of the deceased.
The district administration, supervising the handover of bodies, was facing problems as a number of bodies had been taken by people other than their families.
Some of them, however, meanwhile contacted the district administration after the bodies they were looking for had been recovered.
Dhaka’s additional deputy commissioner (general) Zillur Rahman Chowdhury told New Age that the government was preparing a complete list of the deceased, the injured and the people feared missing.
Eighty bodies, which could not be identified, were buried in the Jurain graveyard in Dhaka, after DNA sampling for identification in the future, in three phases.
The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association and the army control room said that 1,646 survivors were admitted to 22 hospitals, including Combined Military Hospital in the Savar Cantonment, Dhaka Medical College Hospital and Enam Medical College Hospital.
Some 1,200 of them have already been discharged, the army control room said.
The garment exporters’ association, which completed the enlistment of 3,617 workers employed in the five clothing factories, had been distributing wages and benefits to the workers since Tuesday night.
-With New Age input