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Dhaka building collapse toll rises to 161, over 1000 injured

Dhaka, April 25 (ANI): The death toll arising out of the collapse of an eight storey building outside Bangladeshi capital Dhaka, has reached 161, while the injury toll is more than 1000.

According to media reports, a frantic search is still on for survivors, with rescue workers using heavy machinery and bare hands to remove the debris and free the survivors.

Police here said that the factory owners had ignored warnings not to allow their workers into the building after cracks were noticed on Tuesday.

The owners are now said to be in hiding.

The fatory was manufacturing clothing for Joe Fresh and other Western companies, and is now a jumbled mess of concrete.

CBC News quoted Bangladesh Army Brigadier General Mohammed Siddiqul Alam Shikder, as saying that “many” people are still trapped.

He said that a clearer picture of the rescue operation would be available by Thursday evening.

Rescue workers are said to be cutting holes in the collapsed concrete structure with drills or their bare hands, passing water and flashlights to those pinned inside.

The latest tragedy comes less than five months after a factory fire killed 112 people, underscoring the unsafe conditions in Bangladesh’s massive garment industry.

Bangladesh Home Minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir told reporters during a visit to the site that the building had violated construction codes and “the culprits would be punished.”

More than 1,000 people were injured in the building collapse, according to Kalpona Akter, head of the Bangladesh Centre for Worker Solidarity (BCWS).

Akter said workers discovered a crack in the building on Tuesday but were asked to return work on Wednesday morning despite raising concerns over safety.

“These things keep happening because of the huge ignorance and negligence by the factory, by the government and, of course, by the Western tailors, who are sourcing their clothes from these factories,” she told CBC Radio’s As It Happens.

Bangladesh has one of the largest garment industries in the world,. Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, has announced a national mourning today in memory of the victims. (ANI with inputs)