Savar (Bangladesh), April 25: The death toll in the building collapse here on Wednesday jumped to 194 within 24 hours, reports said. Rescuers were still hunting for survivors in the debris of a eight-story building housing mainly garment factories collapsed a day after the workers complained that cracks had developed in the structure.
Army Brigadier General Mohammad Alam Shikder, who is supervising the rescue operations, said many more people were still to be brought out and a clearer picture of the situation was expected to be available by Thursday afternoon.
Rescue workers were drilling holes in the concrete rubble and removing the debris and pass on water, dry food, whistles and flashlights to those trapped inside. The rescue operation was underway during the night as well.
The disaster came less than five months after 112 people were killed in a factory fire and brought to the focus the poor safety conditions in Bangladesh's massive garment industry and construction sector.
The workers said they were hesitant to enter the building on Wednesday morning after witnessing huge cracks that had even drawn attention of the local news channels. The factory manager allegedly assured the workers that nothing would happen and they went inside.
The building caved in after an hour or so. Authorities have filed separate cases of negligence against the building owner. Home Minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir said the building owners had violated construction codes and the culprits would be punished.
Nearly 100 bodies have been handed over their families till Thursday morning, local police sources said. Several other injured people were undergoing treatment at the hospital.