Saturday, April 27, 2013

Death Tolls Passes 300 in Bangladesh Building Collapse

At the Wall Street Journal, "Arrests Ordered in Bangladesh Disaster: Officials Seek Factory Owners as Death Toll in Collapse Passes 300 and Anger Swells Over Building Safety and Pace of Rescue":

DHAKA, Bangladesh—Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina ordered arrests over the collapse of a factory complex here this week after tens of thousands of workers staged at-times violent protests and police clashed with victims' families angry over the pace of the search for survivors.

Workers pulled 100 more survivors from the rubble of the Rana Plaza building on Friday, drawing cheers from onlookers with each rescue, as the death toll rose to at least 306. Rescuers estimated the toll could jump by at least one hundred once the search phase ends and bulldozers start removing bodies.

Citing criminal negligence, Ms. Hasina on Friday ordered the arrests of the man who built and owns the complex, Sohel Rana, because of the building's condition, and of the owners of all five garment factories housed there for ordering employees back to work after cracks appeared in the building's exterior on Tuesday, her spokesman said. Arrest orders of factory owners are extremely rare here. One factory owner was arrested in 2005 in a building collapse that killed 68, but wasn't convicted. Factory owners wield huge political clout in a country that employs hundreds of thousands of garment workers making clothes for Western retailers.

It remains to be seen whether authorities will charge and prosecute the owners over the Rana Plaza incident or abandon the case once public anger has died down. Two of the factory owners turned themselves in to authorities early Saturday, Bangladesh media reported.
More at that top link.