Over 100 killed as building collapses in Dhaka

Dhaka, April 24 (IANS) More than 100 people were killed and over 600 injured Wednesday when an eight-storeyed building crumbled on the outskirts of capital Dhaka. Rescued workers complained they were forced to get back to work though the building was evacuated just a day earlier after cracks appeared.

Those trapped under the rubble screamed for help as rescuers scrambled to get them out.

The building, "Rana Plaza", collapsed around 8:45 a.m. It housed a market, several garment factories and a bank branch.

The building was found to have developed cracks Tuesday, and a day later, it went down in a huge heap of rubble, blocks of cement and bricks.

At least 107 people were killed and over 600 injured in the building collapse, reported the Daily Star.

Nearly 150 people were pulled out of the rubble alive.

Sohel Rana, a local who rescued several people by breaking open a window, said that cries for help were heard from under the rubble of the building.

The crash took place eight years after the collapse of Spectrum Garments in Baipail in Savar, which left 64 workers dead.

There are at least 107 bodies at Enam Medical College and Hospital in Savar where the victims were taken, chief medical officer of the hospital was quoted as saying.

Many workers, who were rescued, told the media that the owners of their garment factories forced them to return to work Wednesday morning.

The workers were hesitating to rejoin work in the morning after they were evacuated on Tuesday after several cracks were detected in the building.

Fire fighters and army personnel joined police and volunteers to rescue those trapped under the debris.

Families and relatives of the missing persons gathered in large numbers in front of the building. Fearing the worst, most of them were wailing.

Home Minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir said that the "building might have collapsed due to faulty construction".

He added the government would bring the culprits to justice after probing the accident.

President-elect Abdul Hamid, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and opposition leader Khaleda Zia in separate messages condoled the deaths.

Following the building collapse, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led 18-party alliance at first relaxed their hartal (strike) in Savar and eventually called off their 36-hour countrywide shutdown.