Dozens rescued from Bangladesh building ruins | Asia| An in-depth look at news from across the continent | DW | 26.04.2013
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Dozens rescued from Bangladesh building ruins

The search for survivors after the collapse of a factory building block in Bangladesh has yielded some success. However, Bangladeshi authorities have upped the death toll in the country's worst industrial disaster.

The number of dead in the wake of the disaster had risen to 272, officials said on Friday, as rescue efforts in the industrial suburb Savar entered their third day.

Teams from Bangladesh's military and emergency services pored over rubble and twisted metal to look for survivors, using both mechanical equipment and their bare hands in the search.

Rescuers on Thursday evening were reported to have found dozens of survivors who were trapped on what was the building's fourth floor.

"We have rescued 45 people today including 41 we found in one place alive," national fire department chief Ahmed Ali told the news agency AFP two days after the initial disaster.

Ali added that a further 20-25 people had been found in another part of the ruined building. Though it was difficult to reach them, he said, they were still alive.

Brig. Gen. Mohammed Siddiqul Alam Shikder, overseeing the rescue operations, also said at least 40 people had been found in what remained of a fourth-floor room. A crowd at the scene was reported to have burst into applause as survivors emerged.

Mainly female workers

The building collapsed on Wednesday after deep cracks were seen developing in its walls on Tuesday. Authorities say bosses at the garment factories ignored an official order to clear the building.

As many as 3,122 people, mainly female garment workers, were said to have been in the building at the time of the collapse. Officials say that, so far, about 2,000 have been rescued. As the chances of finding survivors diminish with time, each subsequent rescue becomes all the more significant.

"We are not sure how many people are still trapped under the rubble," Dhaka District police chief Habibur Rahman told the Reuters news agency.

Western chains, including British retailer Primark and Canada's Loblaw, were supplied by factories in the building some 30 kilometers (20 miles) from the capital.

rc / ccp (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)