April 28, 2013

Arrests made in tragic factory collapse

While rescuers toil to save lives, police seek a local politician who fled after the tragedy.

The Associated Press

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Relatives of Bangladeshi garment worker Mohammed Abdullah openly grieve.

The Associated Press photos

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Garment workers shout slogans to protest unsafe working conditions.

A garment manufacturers' group said the factories in the building employed 3,122 workers, but it was not clear how many were inside it when it collapsed.

Police say they ordered an evacuation of the building on Tuesday after cracks in Rana Plaza were found, but the factories ignored the order and were operating when it collapsed the next day. Video before the collapse shows cracks in walls, with apparent attempts at repair. It also shows columns missing chunks of concrete and police talking to building operators.

Officials said soon after the collapse that numerous construction regulations had been violated.

The disaster is the worst ever for the country's booming and powerful garment industry, surpassing a fire five months ago that killed 112 people and brought widespread pledges to improve worker-safety standards. Since then, very little has changed in Bangladesh, where low wages have made it a magnet for numerous global brands.

Among the garment makers in the building were Phantom Apparels, Phantom Tac, Ether Tex, New Wave Style and New Wave Bottoms. Altogether, they produced several million shirts, pants and other garments a year.

Walmart said none of its clothing had been authorized to be made in the facility, but it is investigating whether there was any unauthorized production.

 

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