Dhaka, April 28 (IANS) Nearly 100 hours into the collapse of an eight-storey Bangladesh building left about 400 dead, authorities Sunday decided to deploy heavy machinery to expedite the vast rescue operation.
At a briefing at the disaster site in Savar on the outskirts of Dhaka, Major General Chowdhury Hasan Suhrawardy of Bangladesh Army announced the decision to deploy cranes and other heavy equipment, Xinhua reports.
He said this will be in addition to manual rescue efforts.
According to the rescuers, heavy machinery will be used to retrieve the remaining bodies as soon as they manage to pull out alive 13 more people who were spotted in the wreckage Sunday morning in the building’s third floor.
Bangladesh authorities refrained from deploying heavy machinery amid concern that tearing chunks from the building might jeopardize the safety of anyone clinging to life beneath the sandwiched floors of the building which crumbled like a pack of cards Wednesday.
In one of the worst tragedies in Bangladesh’s history since 1971, officials say rescuers have pulled alive over 2,500 people including 29 on Saturday and four Sunday.
According to the latest tally, 397 people were confirmed dead.
Rescuers in collaboration with thousands of volunteers and locals under the supervision of Bangladesh Army’s 9th Infantry Division have been working without break since the building collapsed.
Following the cracks which were detected just one day before the accident, the workers were evacuated and the garments authorities declared a leave for Tuesday.
But nobody has bothered about the cracks when officials of the factories forced the workers on the next morning to join workplaces in the building.
Even four days after the tragedy, it is not known exactly how many workers were inside when the building collapsed.
According to the sources, almost all the death victims are workers of the five factories — Phantom Apparels, Phantom Tac, Ether Tex, New Wave Style and New Wave Bottoms — which make clothing for many major global brands.
Six floors of the building housed the five garment factories which employed nearly 3,500 workers, mostly women. Furthermore, there were also a bank’s branch and hundreds of shops inside the building.