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Bangladesh building collapse leaves 83 dead

By Naim-Ul-Karim (Xinhua)

08:16, April 25, 2013

DHAKA, April 24 (Xinhua) -- Hours after a Bangladesh building collapsed, rescuers Wednesday evening said that they could still hear survivors moaning from under the rubble.

They have been scrambling to pull out those trapped in the debris but lack of equipment apparently hinders the rescue operation.

Hundreds of people have been rescued after the eight-storey building in Savar on the outskirts of the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka collapsed on Wednesday morning, leaving at least 83 people dead and over six hundred injured.

Officials say it's not clear how many people remain trapped in the wreckage and rescuers fear the death toll may rise significantly.

"70 bodies have been stored at the morgue of the Eman Medical College Hospital," Shimul Shaha, an official at the private medical college, told Xinhua.

Meanwhile, Habibur Rahman, Dhaka district's police chief, said "13 more bodies have been kept at the Savar police station premises."

Officials say nearly 700 people have been rushed to the hospitals. Doctors said the death toll could rise as some of those injured are in critical condition.

Niilufar Yasmin, a fire service official, said that the building, which contained four garment factories, a bank's branch and hundreds of shops, collapsed at about 9:00 a.m. local time.

Bangladesh Army and paramilitary Border Guards personnel were called in to assist the rescue operation.

Local residents have also been clawing through the piles of rubble to search for survivors, alongside excavators as grieving relatives anxiously await outside the collapsed building.

It was reported that only the first floor of the building remained intact.

The authorities asked to close the building after it developed cracks Tuesday, but one factory owner defied the restriction.

"We've been forced to work in the morning by the factory owner, " a garment worker told the private Somoy TV. "We want stern action against the factory owner who is responsible for the disaster."

It is not known exactly how many workers were inside when the building collapsed. But sources said several thousand workers used to work in the four factories.

Building collapses are common in Bangladesh as many multi- storey blocks are built in violation of rules with inadequate supervision.

At least 110 people were killed in a garment factory fire in Ashulia on the outskirts of Dhaka in November 2012.

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