19:11:18 local time BANGLA DESH
THE SAVAR BUILDING COLLAPSE
An Overview of articles of the Savar Building Collapse: you can find in special reports: here.
21:11:18 local time MONGOLIA
* Erdenet cashmere factory opens:
The Minister of Agriculture and Industry, Kh.Battulga, opened a new cashmere factory in Erdenet on Sunday as part of his visit to the Erdenet Khivs Carpet Factory in Orkhon Province.
The Erdenet Cashmere Factory was opened with ministry support following a commitment made by the government last year that a new “industrial revolution” would be initiated in Mongolia, with the aim of ending the export of unprocessed animal-related materials, renewing domestic value-added production, and increasing the manufacture in Mongolia of “final products.” read more.
21:11:18 local time CHINA
* Foreign firms hit by labor costs, shortage:
Labor costs and labor shortages are the biggest risks facing US firms in China and air pollution has become one of the negative factors driving expatriates out of China, the head of a US business group said Wednesday.
Speaking at the release in Beijing of the 2013 State of American Business in China White Paper, Christian Murck, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in China (AmCham China), said one of the impacts of rising air pollution is that US companies have begun to offer hardship premiums for their expatriate staff in China.
Air pollution is “a truly negative factor” for US firms doing business in China, Murck said. read more.
21:11:18 local time PHILIPPINES
* Filipino handloom cooperative gets boost from Govt:
A cooperative in Aklan involved in the piña-weaving industry has been identified by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) as its qualified cooperator/partner in the Shared Service Facilities (SSF) Project under its “Big Push” for Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Development Program in the province.
The SSF, according to DTI-Aklan Provincial Director Diosdado P. Cadena, Jr., is a Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiative which will be implemented through a private sector partner which can provide sustainable facilities to house the machinery and equipment. read more. & read more.
* DTI refiling save-garment bills, seeks new US Congress sponsors:
The Department of Trade and Industry is not yet giving up hopes on passing the garments bill in the US Congress this time refiling the bill for third time.
DTI Secretary Gregory L. Domingo told reporters at the PEZA Investors’ Night on Thursday they are now scouting for a fresh sponsor under the new US Congress for the bill and looking for a major trade bill on which the Philippine proposed “Save Our Industries Act” can ride on.
According to Domingo, DTI Undersecretary Ponciano Manalo was sent to Washington early last week to meet with DTI people in the US to plan for the next move after the third attempt to pass the bill was snubbed by the US Congress.
20:11:18 local time VIET NAM
* Garments, textiles to lead exports if growth maintained:
The Ministry of Industry and Trade forecast that textile and garments would become the nation’s top exports this year if the sector maintains the 19 per cent growth rate achieved in the first quarter.
Dang Phuong Dung, deputy chairperson of the Viet Nam Textile and Garment Association, said total export turnover of the industry reached US$ 4.2 billion and there are many good points of a recovery for the industry.
Le Tien Truong, deputy chairman of the Viet Nam Textile and Garment Group, said textile and garment exports often increased after the first quarter, predicting that they will reach record export turnover this month. read more.
20:11:18 local time CAMBODIA
* Firings, unpaid wages drive two factory strikes:
Garment workers from the Horus Industrial factory protest near Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday. Photograph: Vireak Mai/Phnom Penh Post
Nearly 100 former employees of the Horus Industrial garment factory protested in front of Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday, demanding the company’s owner pay the remaining wages and benefits owed them since the factory’s closure in November.
In January, the Arbitration Council ordered the company to pay the outstanding funds to its approximately 1,200 former workers, but four months later, the factory still has not handed over the money, said the 89 workers protesting yesterday.
“We’ve spent a lot of time protesting,” said former employee Kong Sopheap. “It takes time we could use to find other jobs.”
Another former employee, Yon La, said the factory owed some workers up to $1,000 in wages and benefits.
The company could not be reached. read more.
21:11:18 local time INDONESIA
* Violators of wage regulation liable to prison sentence:
Businessmen who paid their employees below the regional minimum wage (UMR) in Indonesia are liable to one-year prison sentence, a top justice official said.
Speaking to ANTARA here on Wednesday, Indonesia`s Supreme Court (MA) Justice Gayus Lumbuun said the court`s one-year sentence given to Tjia Christina Chandra with a fine of Rp100 million is a lesson form to other entrepreneurs who committed violations of the UMR regulation. read more.
* Security guards expected to spare May Day:
The Jakarta Police appealed to employers to have security guards stationed at their posts during May Day, as they expect around 200,000 workers attending planned protests on May 1.
“We encourage security guards in Jakarta to not take part in the May Day protests, but to maintain security at their offices where they work during the day,” Jakarta Police deputy chief Brig. Gen. Sudjarno told reporters on Tuesday after a meeting between Jakarta Police executives and representatives of Security Service Providers Association (BUJP). read more.
* Please Don’t Gridlock Jakarta, Police Tell Prospective May Day Marchers:
Jakarta Police say they are happy for people to mark International Workers’ Day next Wednesday — as long as it is in the form of modest celebrations, rather than massive demonstrations.
Brig. Gen. Sudjarno, the Jakarta Police deputy chief, said on Tuesday that police were hoping the rallies would proceed peacefully and with minimal disruption to traffic, to the general public and to economic activity.
“We are of course working with representatives from the workers’ unions so that the May Day demonstrations can go ahead in an orderly fashion,” he said. read more.
19:11:18 local time BANGLA DESH
* 100 killed as building collapses at Savar:
About a 100 apparel workers were killed and several hundred injured as a nine-storey building housing apparel units and a shopping mall collapsed on a bordering building at Savar on Wednesday morning.
With several hundred more believed to have been trapped inside, rescuers fear the death toll could be rising significantly.
Unofficial estimates, based on hospital records and statements of survivors and others, say that about a hundred were killed.
The Fire Service and Civil Defence later afternoon said that rescuers could recover about 80 bodies from the rubble. There has, however, been no official figure so far on the number of death. read more.
* Inside the hell:
Mahmudur suddenly felt a jolt. Within a moment, he noticed his colleagues running back and forth, screaming. It took Mahmudur little time to understand that something ominous was going to happen.
As soon as he along with others moved 20 feet towards the staircases, the building began collapsing, giving him the feeling of a lift going down.
“Darkness engulfed the entire place with thick clouds of debris. I heard screams around me. My heart started pounding,” said Mahmudur, a quality inspector of Ethar Tex Ltd on the fifth floor.
“I lay down near a pillar, thinking that perhaps I was going to die. We were being roasted inside,” he said. The roof curved and fell on him, leaving a space of three feet above him.
After sometime, a ray of hope emerged when he saw a faint light. It was a mobile phone light of one of his colleagues. He found a few more colleagues and together they pondered how they could find a way out of the horror. read more.
* Rising high, illegally:
The collapsed nine-storey building in Savar never had any approval from Rajuk while supervision during its intermittent construction to raise more and more floors was virtually absent.
The vertical expansion of the structure on a floor space of 24,416 square feet (around 56 decimal of land) took place in several phases over the last five years.
According to locals, the construction and the recent erection of the ninth floor spawned a rumour in the area questioning the quality of the building.
The building had two entrances.
The back one was solely used by hundreds of workers of five garment factories on the upper floors while people coming to markets on the ground and first floor used the front access on the Dhaka-Aricha highway.
Rana Plaza was owned by Awami League youth wing Jubo League’s Savar town unit senior joint convener Md Sohel Rana. Locals said none had dared to challenge the construction of the building succumbing to the young politician’s influence in the area. read more.
* Help aplenty:
Onlookers give away as an injured of the Rana Plaza collapse is rushed into Enam Medical College Hospital in Savar yesterday. Photo: Palash Khan
It is an eerie syncopation of pain and grief, frantic effort and desperation at the Enam Medical College and Hospital.
“Quick. Where is pethidine?”
“Put the drip on. Full”
“My brother! O my brother. Where are you? Why did you go to work today?”
“Help me. I am dying. Help!”
Frantic words fly around the emergency room of Enam Hospital at Savar as victims are brought in streams. The high-pitched sirens of the ambulances just add a hellish edge to the scene.
Several hundred doctors and interns in white aprons swarm around the injured. Many of them just lie motionless with life drained out of them. read more.
* 8-storey bldg collapses at Savar:
One hundred people were killed and several hundred others injured as an eight-storied commercial building that housed five garment factories collapsed Wednesday morning in Savar, on the outskirts of the capital.
Firefighters, army personnel and members of the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) joined hands to conduct operation to rescue the people trapped inside the rubble. Online media put the death figure at 116 until our going to press at 9:15 pm Wednesday.
According to rescuers and locals, the death toll might go up as many others were believed to have been trapped under the wreckage of Rana Plaza until late in the evening. read more.
* Call for arrest of building owner:
Left-leaning political parties and apparel sector rights organisations on Wednesday demanded the arrest of the owner of the eight-storey Rana Plaza at Savar that collapsed in the morning on a bordering building leaving more than a hundred, mostly apparel workers, dead.
Ganasanghati Andolan held protests near the National Press Club demanding an early arrest of the building owner.
The party’s acting chief coordinator Abul Hasan Rubel alleged that the owner of the building was responsible for the death of the workers.
A procession followed the rally.
Garments Workers’ Trade Union Centre leaders at another rally in the place said that the building owner was responsible for the death of the workers as the building had earlier been identified as risky. read more.
* Uphill task in hand:
Rana Plaza is now a mountain of jumbled concrete debris. Concrete pillars of every shape dangle precariously, ready to snap and crash down.
Close to the top just under a bundle of cloth lies the half-buried body of a woman. A huge pillar lies across her. Her blood-spattered hair has grown stiff.
Nobody takes much notice of her. Rescuers clamber around, peeking into hundreds of crevices of the heap of debris that was once a nine-storey building.
The dead can wait for now. More important are those who are trapped alive. Nobody can actually say how many are trapped but it would not be less than 2,000, on top of the 106 already confirmed dead.
Time is running out and the extreme heat is taking a toll on the survivors buried under the collapsed building. read more.
* BGMEA forms 3 bodies over Savar tragedy:
The Bangladesh Garment Manufactures and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Wednesday formed three separate committees to oversee rescue and rehabilitation activities of the Savar tragedy victims.
The committees will look into emergency blood supply, treatment facilities, and collection of information about the garment workers, who were critically injured in the multi-storied Rana Plaza collapse Wednesday.
The BGMEA teams will be working round-the-clock in this connection. The country’s apex apparel body has already set up two information cells at the BGMEA headquarters and near to the collapsed commercial building at Savar.
read more. & read more.
* Savar tragedy in world media:
The incident of collapse of eight-story commercial building Rana Plaza has been widely covered in the international media.
The Daily Telegraph, a leading daily of the United Kingdom said, ‘The website for one of the Bangladeshi garment factory companies, New Wave, which occupied three of the floors of Rana Plaza in Dhaka’s Savar district, indicates that at least half of those dead and injured were women and that many children may also be among the victims. The company provides crèche facilities for the children of its female workers on the 2nd, 6th and 7th floors of the building’ it added.
The implosion follows the fire at another Dhaka clothing factory building in November in which 112 people died and raises further questions over safety and working standards in the country’s £13 billion garment industry which supplies many high street clothing brands in Britain and the United States. One of the factories in the building lists Benetton and Monsoon as clients.
News agency Reuters said, fire fighters and army personnel worked frantically through the day at the Rana Plaza building in Savar, 30 km (19 miles) outside Dhaka, to rescue people trapped in the rubble. read more.
* Dhaka collapse kills up to 100:
A block housing garment factories and shops collapsed in Bangladesh on Wednesday, killing nearly 100 people and injuring more than 1,000, officials said.
Firefighters and troops dug frantically through the rubble at the eight-storey Rana Plaza building in Savar, 30 kilometers outside Dhaka. Television showed young women workers, some apparently semi-conscious, being pulled out.
One fireman told Reuters that about 2,000 people were in the building when the upper floors jolted down on top of each other.
Five garment factories, employing mostly women, were housed in the building, including Ether Tex Ltd, whose chairman told Reuters he was unaware of any warnings not to open the workshops. “There were some crack at the second floor, but my factory was on the fifth floor,” said Muhammad Anisur Rahman. “The owner of the building told our floor manager that it is not a problem and so you can open the factory.”
He initially said that his firm had been sub-contracted to supply Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the world’s largest retailer, and Europe’s C&A. In a subsequent interview he said he had been referring to an order in the past, not current work.
Wal-Mart did not immediately respond to requests for comment. C&A said that, based on its best information, it had no contractual relationship with any of the production units in the building that collapsed. read more.
* Stern action against violators: BGMEA:
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) on Wednesday demanded punishment to the owners of the building and garment factories which collapsed killing around 100 workers.
“The BGMEA had instructed the factory owners, who are also members of BGMEA, to keep their factories closed as some cracks were developed in the 8-story building that housed three garments units, a bank branch and around three hundred shops.
But they opened the factories violating the instruction,” said BGMEA president Atiqul Islam while addressing a press conference at BGMEA office Wednesday evening.
Avoiding to give direct answers to a volley of questions raised by the journalists about who was responsible for the collapse, the BGMEA owners only said those who will be found guilty by investigation should be punished. read more.
* Nation mourns tragedy today:
The nation will observe national mourning on Thursday (today) following the tragic building collapse near Savar bus stand on the outskirts of the capital on Wednesday morning that left over a hundred people dead and many more injured, reports UNB.
“The nation will observe mourning on Thursday following the huge loss of lives in building collapse in Savar and national flags in all the government, semi-government and autonomous offices will fly at half-mast,” Cabinet Secretary M Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan.
Besides, he said, special prayers would be offered in all the mosques and religious temples seeking divine blessings for the eternal peace of the departed souls. read more.
* RMG sector faces severe blow in int’l market for Savar tragedy:
The Savar tragedy is another blow in the international market for the country’s readymade garment industry which is yet to recover from the effects of Tazreen factory fire, said economists and garment exporters.
More than 100 people, most of them garment workers, were killed, 500 were injured and scores of others were trapped when an nine-storey building, Rana Plaza, which housed five garment factories and other shops, collapsed at Savar on Wednesday.
* Deaths in Savar building-collapse condoled:
The president, prime minister, acting speaker, opposition leader, ministers, parliament members, and diplomats on Wednesday expressed their grave shock at the loss of lives in the tragic building-collapse at Savar.
More than 100 apparel workers were killed and several hundreds injured as an eight-storey building housing garment factories and a shopping centre collapsed on Wednesday morning near Savar bus stand.
Human Rights Forum, a national platform of 19 rights organisations, different professional bodies and socio-cultural organisations, among others, also offered their condolences.
President Abdul Hamid expressed his deep shock at the fatalities in the tragic incident. He prayed for eternal peace of the departed souls and early recovery of the injured. read more.
* 730 RMG workers killed in fires, factory collapses in 11 years:
The country’s booming garment industry, its biggest export earner, has been plagued by building-collapses, fires, and other accidents, leaving at least 730 workers killed in the past 11 years, according to the data of Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies.
Another 4,700 garment workers have been injured, many of whom have lost their ability to work, in the incidents, but most of the injured and the families of the killed did not get compensation.
Most of the readymade garment factory buildings in Bangladesh are structurally unsafe. Buildings are illegally converted into factories that run day and night to meet production targets. read more.
* Another shock for garment:
The collapse of a nine-storey building in Savar yesterday came as another blow to garment exports.
The building, Rana Plaza, housed five garment factories, according to the latest member directory of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
Around 3,000 workers were supposed to be at work in the factories when the building collapsed.
Garment manufacturers and exporters said the incident occurred at a time when the main foreign currency earning sector is passing rough waters against a backdrop of the ongoing political turmoil in the country.
Bangladesh exported knitwear worth $7.59 billion and woven products worth $8.09 billion in the July-March period of fiscal 2012-13. read more.
* Garment workers to announce tougher agitations from April 27 rally:
Garments workers are likely to announce tougher agitation programmes from their rally to be held at Shapla Square at Motijheel on April 27 in protest against the 13-point demands of Islamist outfit Hefajat-e-Islam.
Garments workers will go for tougher agitations, as the demands of Hefajat are against their rights and threaten their jobs and livelihoods, the leaders of Garments Sramik Rakkha Andolan, a combine of 45 garment workers organisations, said at a briefing at National Press Club on Wednesday. read more.
* It’s RMG sector’s biggest tragedy: BGMEA:
Terming the Saval building collapse the biggest tragedy in the country’s apparel sector, BGMEA President M Atiqul Islam on Wednesday said they have formed three committees to oversee rehabilitation, compensation and proper treatment of the injured.
“We’re deeply saddened, spellbound. This is the biggest tragedy in the country’s readymade garment sector. We’ll do whatever is needed…,” he told an urgently called crowded press conference at the BGMEA Bhaban in the evening.
Directors and officials of the BGMEA (Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association) will lead the committees which will work 24 hours.
Former BGMEA presidents M Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin and Abdus Salam Murshedy were, among others, present.
He assured that they will bear the expenses of treatment for the injured workers and will compensate the families of the victims. read more.
* 123 killed as building collapses at Savar:
At least 123 people, mostly female apparel workers, were killed and more than a thousand injured as a eight-storey building housing five apparel units and a shopping mall collapsed on a bordering building at Savar on Wednesday morning.
With several hundred more believed to have been trapped inside, rescuers fear that the death toll could be rising significantly.
‘One hundred and twenty-three bodies have so far been recovered from the debris,’ the superintendent of police in Dhaka, Habibur Rahman, told New Age about midnight. The death toll could be rising. read more.
* Rescue races against time:
Rana Plaza is now a mountain of jumbled concrete debris. Concrete pillars of every shape dangle precariously, ready to snap and crash down. Close to the top just under a bundle of cloth lies the half-buried body of a woman. A huge pillar lies across her. Her blood-spattered hair has grown stiff.
Nobody takes much notice of her. Rescuers clamber around, peeking into hundreds of crevices of the heap of debris that was once a nine-storey building.
The dead can wait for now. More important are those who are trapped alive. Nobody can actually say how many are trapped but it would not be less than 1,600, on top of the 142 already confirmed dead as of 2:30am today. More than 1,000 others were injured one way or the other.
Time is running out and the extreme heat is taking a toll on the survivors buried under the collapsed building. read more.
* They risk life for humanity:
They were pretty ordinary people but took up the heroic job of rescuing those who got trapped inside the broken-down nine-storey building in Savar on the outskirts of the capital yesterday.
Just after the building collapsed around 8:45am, local people and relatives of those who were inside — dead or alive — rushed to the site. They did whatever they could do to bring the victims out, at times putting their lives at risk of being killed in a further collapse of the yet-standing pillars and walls.
To gather momentum into the rescue operations, they were chanting “Hurry up” and “Speed up rescue operations, save the people.” Volunteer rescuers went inside the rubble, removing bricks and pillars and breaking through walls. They created passages to carry the victims out to safety. read more.
* Disaster: Over 130 killed, 1000 hurt:
In the worst ever building collapse in Bangladesh’s 42-year history, at least 112 people were killed and over 1,000 injured in Savar, some 20 kilometer north of the capital, on Wednesday.
The tragic incident occurred when the eight-storey Rana Plaza near Savar Bus Stand housing four garment factories, a bank branch and several stores came down around 9 am, instantly killing dozens of people and trapping hundreds of others in the debris. “So far 138 dead bodies have been recovered,” said State Minister for Home Shamsul Huq Tuku late at night at the spot where he went oversee the rescue operation.
Savar Police have also recorded a case regarding the collapse. Helal Uddin Ahmed, authorising officer of Rajuk,
filed the case against the building owner for violating the building code last night. Besides, police have also filed the case against the owner and authorities of the building for deaths due to negligence, said Asaduzzaman, OC, Savar police station.
* It crumbles like a pack of cards:
It was 8:45am, a bright glorious morning.
The nine-storey Rana Plaza in Savar was humming with life. Sewing machines whirred; irons steamed. Nobody was much bothered about the cracks that had developed in the building the day before.
In fact, more than 2,000 people working there had forgotten it in the flurry of activity.
Laxmi Sarkar, a sewing machine helper, was working on her machine next to a pillar on the third floor.
Suddenly, she felt that the floor started tipping, as if it had come alive.
The first thing that came to her mind was the cracks in the building.
Laxmi jumped up. As she was running down the stairs, she heard a thunderous sound. read more.
* Rana Plaza had no RAJUK approval:
‘Owner totally responsible’
The collapsed 8-storied Rana Plaza at Savar; which claimed at least 110 lives and left over 900 injured had no Rajuk permission prompting people to wonder whether there is a kind of lawlessness reigning the country’s construction sector.
Two laws are contradiction each other. One such law said a person who want to construct a building at Savar before 2008 was not required to take Rajuk permission, since it is not located in the city area.
Another law said it is mandatory to take such permission. There is a total chaos and dishonest people have taken advantage of it.
Rana Plaza was built in 2004-05 having obtained the approval from the Savar municipality only, the Rajuk sources said. read more.
* Murder, not accident:
Signs of collapse ignored by building owner; he vanishes after rescue; only Brac Bank responds to evacuation call
Can the collapse of the nine-storey building in Savar yesterday be called an accident?
Unlike any accident, which catches victims off guard, people in decision-making positions at Rana Plaza had had warning about the problems of the building a day ahead of the tragedy.
Ignoring the warning, the authorities, including the building owner Sohel Rana, decided to keep the building open for business, a decision that has cost, as of filing of this report at 2:30am, 142 lives.
Interestingly, 11 people were saved by a quick decision by the top management of Brac Bank. The bank suspended operations of a branch located on the second floor of the building.
Rana Plaza at Bazar bus stand housed five garment factories from the third to the eighth floors. read more.
* Global impact feared:
Apparel exporters yesterday feared that the spillover impact of the building collapse in Savar that killed at least 110 RMG workers could leave severe consequences to the country’s garments export.
More than 3,000 workers were on duty when the eight-storied building “Rana Plaza,” containing five apparel factories from three to eighth floor, collapsed on Wednesday morning.
The RMG industry of Bangladesh is going to face a severe backlash from the global buyers who are loud about the safety standard of garment workers in their workplaces.
The tragic incident will create worldwide concerns over labor safety and standards in the local RMG factories prompting the EU and the US buyers to raise new conditions.
GSP facility may come under renewed threats as it hearing is currently taking place in Washington.
“It would be big blow for the local RMG industry read more.
* Rana wreckage haunted by life, but time running out for rescuers:
The abject scene of death and destruction in Savar where the ill-constructed Rana Plaza stood so precariously before plunging into the earth on Wednesday morning, was interspersed with a string of small miracles in the early hours of Thursday, that stood testament to the sheer resilience of human life in the face of unfathomable tragedy.
As UNB wrapped up its coverage of the somewhat fitful but enthusiastic rescue effort around 3am on Thursday – roughly 18 hours on from the moment the 8-floor building housing at least 4 garment factories and some 300 shops with up to 6,000 workers – the official death toll had risen to 135, as indicated by the number of bodies laid out on the grounds of a nearby college. The final death toll is likely to be much higher.
More than a few souls whispered untold numbers had been whisked away in the darkness, but ever since evening fell the focus had shifted very much onto the living.
* 8-storey building collapses in Savar; over 127 dead:
An eight-storey building at Savar bus stand on the outskirts of the capital collapsed on Wednesday morning, killing over 127 people and injuring some 800.
“Around 127 dead bodies have been recovered and 75 identified so far,” Assistant Police Super of Savar Moshi Uddawla Reja told UNB at night. read more.
* Savar tragedy likely to concern US:
The building collapse in Savar killing dozens of people on Wednesday is likely to be a cause of concern among the United States authorities with regards to GSP (Generalised System of Preference) benefits for Bangladeshi products in the US market, fears government officials.
Such a tragic incident on the day of post-hearing submission on GSP to the US Trade Representative is embarrassing for the country and will not certainly do any good in terms of the country’s image with regards to safety in work places, they said.
“It is embarrassing for us as this tragic incident in Savar coincided with the day of post-hearing submission on GSP to the USTR,” said a senior Foreign Ministry official. read more.
* Factory building collapse in Bangladesh kills 149:
Rescue workers and people look for survivors after an eight-story building housing several garment factories collapsed in Savar, near Dhaka, Bangladesh, Wednesday. Pic: AP.
Rescuers tried to free people believed trapped in the concrete rubble of a building housing mainly garment factories that collapsed in Bangladesh a day after workers complained cracks had developed in the structure. The death toll jumped Thursday to 149 after searchers worked through the night.
“Many” people are still trapped, said the rescue operations leader, army Brig. Gen. Mohammed Siddiqul Alam Shikder said Thursday morning. A clearer picture of the rescue operation would be available by afternoon he said. read more.
* Building Collapse Today Is Another Wake-Up Call for Walmart and Other Major Buyers to Act Immediately to Prevent Future Tragedies:
More than 80 workers died and hundreds were injured when apparel factories collapsed in the Rana Plaza building in Dhaka, Bangladesh today. Families continue to search for survivors.
This disaster comes just 5 months after the fire at Tazreen Fashions garment factory near Dhaka, which killed 112 workers on November 24, 2012. Walmart-labeled product was found in Tazreen and now one of the factories in the Rana complex, Ether-Tex, had listed Walmart-Canada as a buyer on their website. Walmart has yet to contribute to the worker compensation fund for Tazreen vicitms.
International Labor Rights Forum and other labor rights groups are calling for immediate action from international corporations and brands. “We need the brands to make significant changes in how they monitor their suppliers and to make a meaningful commitment to worker safety,” said Judy Gearhart, Executive Director of the ILRF. The Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement, a binding agreement that has been endorsed by two global brands, would create rigorous inspections, transparency and oversight and ensure that workers and their organizations are an integral part of the solution. read more.
* Dhaka replies to USTR with promise of tight factory monitoring:
Dhaka on Wednesday submitted its reply to the queries of the United States Trade Representative for retaining the Generalised System of Preferences in the US market with a promise to comply with labour rights and safety at factories.
The government also assured the USTR to strengthen its monitoring of working conditions at factories, increasing the number of factory inspectors to 848 from the existing 183.
In the reply to the 19 queries of the USTR, the government also promised to improve vigilance against rights violations at factories, especially in the garment sector.
* Bangladesh accidents represent a failure of brands to make safety a priority:
Rescuers in Bangladesh on Thursday hunted for survivors in a collapsed building as the death toll rose to 152 and criticism mounted of foreign firms that source cheap clothes from the country.
More than 1,000 people were injured when the site housing a number of garment factories on the outskirts of Dhaka imploded on Wednesday, allegedly after managers ignored workers’ warnings that the building had become unstable.
Flags flew at half-mast as the shell-shocked country declared a day of mourning for the victims of the country’s worst factory disaster, which highlighted anew safety concerns in Bangladesh’s vital garment industry.
“The death toll is now 152,” said Wali Asraf, a senior police officer in the disaster control room, adding that rescue workers could still hear screams coming from the wreckage about 24 hours after the building collapsed.
Last November, a blaze at a factory making apparel for Walmart and other
Western labels in Dhaka left 111 people dead, with survivors describing
how fire exits were kept locked by site managers.
Tessel Pauli, a spokeswoman for the Amsterdam-based Clean Clothes Campaign, said the latest disaster was “symptomatic” of problems in Bangladesh where foreign
buyers are accused of jeopardising safety in their search for profit.
“These accidents represent a failure of these brands to make safety a priority.
They know what needs to be done and they are not doing it,” Pauli told AFP.
* Bangladesh Factory Disaster: Workers Made Clothes for Benetton, Primark and Dress Barn:
Hundreds of workers are still feared missing in the Dhaka building collapse, as it emerged that the garment factories which occupied many of its floors made clothes for some of the biggest retail chains in the US and Europe.
Among the businesses in the building were Phantom Apparels, New Wave Style, New Wave Bottoms and New Wave Brothers, which make clothing for worldwide brands including Benetton, The Children’s Place and Dress Barn. The Telegraph reported that factories there also produced fashion lines for British high street names such as Primark, Matalan and Bonmarche.
According to Liana Foxvog, of the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF), the collapse eerily echoes the Spectrum factory collapse in Bangladesh in 2005, in which 64 people were killed and 80 were injured. Garment factories in Bangladesh, the world’s biggest exporter of clothing after China, are often located in unsafe buildings originally constructed for residential or commercial purposes.
Thousands of workers and residents were believed to be inside Rana Plaza when it collapsed. Many of the dead were women and there are fears that children left in creches will be added to the mounting death toll. read more.
18:41:18 local time INDIA
* Power loom weavers go on strike:
They demand higher rates for the fabric they produce
Power loom weavers in Vijayamangalam block of Erode district went on a week-long strike on Wednesday demanding higher rates for the fabric produced by them.
More than 1,000 power loom units in Kaliyamputhur and a number of other villages in the block, which were producing Kerala saris, dhotis and towels, stopped their operations.
Weavers said the cost of production had gone up following the steep rise in the prices of cotton yarn and the ongoing power crisis. read more.
* Integrated textile parks to generate 10 lakh jobs:
The 61 textile parks approved under the Scheme for Integrated Textile Parks (SITP) are expected to generate over 10 lakh jobs. These parks will have total estimated investment of Rs 27,562 crore.
Commerce, Industry and Textiles Minister Anand Sharma launched 21 new Textile Parks on Tuesday. With these the total number parks go up to 61.
This scheme has been instrumental in development of wide range of models for greenfield clusters, including 1,000-acre FDI driven integrated clusters, 100-acre powerloom clusters and 20-acre handloom clusters. read more.
* Total number of Textile Parks in India reach 61:
18:41:18 local time SRI LANKA
* Social contours of the COST OF LIVING CRISIS:
The cost of living crisis in Sri Lanka is a real one. It is also serious. Otherwise a majority of the people would not be complaining about it on a daily basis.
At the same time, this is a problem with no simple solution that the government can come up with, because it is structurally rooted and needs to be addressed through a process of long term economic restructuring. But this is easier said than done.
An increasing proportion of the labour force has moved away from productive activities over the last several decades. As a result, today, a majority of the gainfully employed people are engaged in non-productive service activities. read more.
18:11:18 local time PAKISTAN
* Toxic emissions: Alternative factory fuels causing respiratory disease:
Around 30 complaints were received from workers and people living near factories in the city over the last two months, an Environment Protection Agency (EPA) official requesting anonymity told The Express Tribune.
Ever since gas supply to industries has become irregular, an increasing number of factories have begun using rice husk, corn cobs and mustard husk as cheap alternatives to run the furnaces.
Rizwan, a worker living close to the factory he works at on Defence Road, says he has filed several complaints about the high carbon soot emitted by the factory chimneys to the Environment Protection Agency (EPA).
As many as 200 factories in the city, particularly textile and paper factories have been using rice husk, corn cobs and mustard husk in the place of gas and furnace oil. These fuels emit high levels of ash particles and dust that cause respiratory disease in workers and people living near the factories. read more.