At least 160 dead in Dhaka building collapse

25 April 2013

The death toll has risen to at least 160 people following the collapse of an eight-storey building that housed multiple garment factories near Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Some 2,000 people were in the Rana Plaza building in Savar, some 30km outside Dhaka, when it collapsed suddenly on Wednesday morning.

Local hospitals were overwhelmed with more than 1,000 people injured, the BBC reported.

On Thursday rescue workers and volunteers continued trying to free an unknown number of survivors trapped inside.

Police said the factory owners had ignored warnings to shut the building after cracks were noticed on Tuesday, reported the BBC, adding that the owners were said to have gone into hiding.

"The whole building collapsed like a pancake within minutes. Most workers did not have any chance to escape," national fire department chief Ahmed Ali told AFP news agency.

Speaking at the scene, Home Minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir said the building had violated construction codes and that "the culprits would be punished".

There are reports that the building owner had illegally added three extra stories to the building, the BBC said.

The last major building collapse in Bangladesh was in 2010, when a four-storey building in Dhaka caved in, killing at least 25 people and injuring several others.

In 2005, there was a building collapse near the site of Wednesday’s incident, killing 64 people.

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