Bangladesh Building Collapse Death Toll Tops 900 As Protests Rage On

DHAKA, Bangladesh — Hundreds of survivors of last month's collapse of a building housing garment factories in Bangladesh protested for compensation Tuesday (7 May), as the death toll from the country's worst-ever industrial disaster continues to rise.

To date, more than 900 are confirmed dead, 2,500 people have been rescued, more than 2,000 of them injured and 1,000 people are unaccounted for, or still trapped inside the concrete wreckage of the collapsed garment factory in Bangladesh. The number is expected to rise as rescuers continue to search the rubble for those killed.

The search is being hampered as it is increasingly difficult to identify bodies as they decompose. People are being identified by ID cards and mobile phones.

The workers, who made little more than the national minimum wage of about $38 per month, are demanding at least four months in salary. Meanwhile, the Western multinational corporations who subcontract sewing their brands to Bangladesh, an economy where 80% of its exports are from the apparel trade stubbornly refuse to join workplace safety plans in Bangladesh. They still refuse to compensate the injured and the families of those who previously died sewing their brands. Since the infamous Tazreen factory fire blaze in November where 112 died there have been dozens more factory fires since and now hundreds killed in this week's Rana Plaza building collapse. 

Officials say the building's owner illegally added three floors to Rana Plaza and allowed the garment factories to install heavy machines and generators. The owner of the Rana Plaza building which collapsed on April 24th, Mohammed Sohel Rana, is to face a murder charge filed by the wife of one of the workers killed. Rana went into hiding after the tragedy and was found trying to cross the Indian border four days later. He is alleged to have forced workers back into the building despite massive cracks appearing in the walls prior to the collapse.

How many people will have to sacrifice their lives for the corporate bottom line?

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