Dhaka, May 12 (IANS) More than two weeks after an eight-storey building collapsed in the Bangladesh capital, the death toll approached 1,200 Sunday, officials said.
Tarekul Alam of the Dhaka district administration’s control room told Xinhua that the confirmed death toll stood at 1,126 at 3 p.m.
The control room was set up near the building site at Savar on the outskirts of Dhaka to coordinate rescue operations.
He said 63 corpses were still at a nearby school ground for identification.
“We are preserving tissue suitable for DNA tests of the unidentified bodies, many of which have also been buried,” he said.
Rescuers say the stench of decaying bodies was still strong in the rubble of the Rana Plaza building that crumbled April 24.
Rescuers have pulled out alive 2,438 people, including a female garment worker named Reshmi, a seamstress buried for 16 days in the debris of the collapsed building.
More bodies are expected to be found in the rubble as cranes and bulldozers were still cutting through the mountain of concrete and mangled steel.
An unnamed official said the recovery operation would likely end Monday as they expect to remove the entire debris from the site. “We’re near the end,” said the official.
An initial government probe blamed vibrations from giant generators combined with the vibrations of sewing machinery for the collapse of the building, allegedly constructed without proper permission with substandard materials.
At least 12 people, including the owner of the collapsed building and owners of the factories which make clothing for major global brands, have been arrested.
Apart from a bank branch and hundreds of shops, six floors of the building housed five garment factories which, according to the data of the owners’ association, employed at least 3,122 workers, mostly women.