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At least 14 killed in Bangladesh building collapse – officials

At least 14 people were killed and 25 injured when a four-storey building collapsed onto tin-roofed shanties in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka, police and officials said Wednesday.
The structure, built on columns, toppled over late Tuesday, flattening houses where scores of low-paid garment workers and laborers lived.
"So far, we have recovered 14 dead bodies from the rubble," deputy fire chief Abdus Salam told AFP, adding that rescuers had not yet managed to access the crushed shanty houses.
"We can see more dead bodies and we believe some people may still be trapped," he said.
"People sleeping inside the shanties and in the building didn't have time to escape," said Dhaka city official Muhibul Haque, adding that the building collapsed in a matter of minutes.
"Twelve people were rescued alive this morning. The injured were sent to hospital," he said.
The army and the fire department used earth-moving equipment in the rescue operation, with some people believed to be trapped under the debris, Salam said.
Fire officials said rescue work was hampered by live electricity wires and leaking gas pipes.
Immediately after the building collapsed, police and fire officials pulled 15 people alive from the rubble, police inspector Abul Kalam Azad said. They had suffered light injuries including cuts and bruises.
Authorities blamed shoddy construction.
The building was owned by a former government official who had added additional floors on top of the original structure in defiance of building regulations, one resident told ATN Bangla television channel.
Building collapses are common in the Bangladeshi capital, where construction laws are seldom enforced. In one of the worst such incidents, at least 70 people were killed when a garment factory collapsed outside Dhaka in 2005.
Experts have said more than half of Dhaka's buildings and high-rises would collapse if the country is hit by a powerful earthquake, with the last major quake hitting the disaster-prone South Asian nation over 100 years ago.

Source: AP
Date: 01/06/2010


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