An eight-storey building has collapsed in the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, killing at least 87, while many more are feared dead.
A massive rescue mission continues as officials said on Wednesday that hundreds of people were still trapped in the rubble as fire crews say up to 2,000 people were in the building when it fell.
Only the ground floor of the Rana Plaza in the Savar district, which also housed a garment factory, remained intact after the collapse at 8:30am local time on Wednesday morning, officials said.
Hundreds of people had received treatment for their injuries, doctors said.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has announced a national day of mourning for Thursday when flags will fly half-mast in memory of the victims.
Mohammad Asaduzzaman, in charge of the area’s police station, said factory owners appeared to have ignored a warning not to allow their workers into the building after a crack was detected in the block.
Five garment factories – employing mostly women – were housed in the building, including Ether Tex Ltd., whose chairman said he was unaware of any warnings not to open the workshops.
“There was some crack at the second floor, but my factory was on the fifth floor,” Muhammad Anisur Rahman told Reuters.
“The owner of the building told our floor manager that it is not a problem and so you can open the factory.”
“We started working. After about an hour or so the building collapsed suddenly”.
This is not the first time a multi-storey building will collapse in Bangladesh. In fact, building collapses are common in the Asian country, as many multi-storey blocks are built in violation of construction standards.
In 2005, dozens were killed after a multi-storey garment factory collapsed in the same area.
Fires are also a problem in Bangladesh’s booming garment industry, the second biggest in the world.