by CHRYSTAL STASICKY Staff Writer
The Rana Plaza in the town of Savar collapsed on Wednesday April 24 with over 1,100 deaths and people remain missing to this day.
According to Disaster Management Minister Abul Hasan Mahmood Ali, the government never approved of the construction of the garment building. He also mentioned that the building was not built correctly. Construction workers used substandard rods, bricks and cement that were unable to hold up the building.
Workers not only used basic construction materials, but the building was placed on wetland. It should not be any surprise that the building collapsed on the saturated, unsteady land. A building built in the same area collapsed back in 2005, killing more than 70 people.
On Tuesday, cracks began to appear in the structure. However, the workers were urged to return to work by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina that night.
She stated in parliament, “I would like to tell the workers to keep their head cool, keep mills and factories operative, otherwise you will end up losing your jobs.”
After the collapse, a rescue mission was sent out. Salvagers searched with their bare hands and looked for survivors while the machinery remained immobile. They found more than 2,400 people and there are citizens still missing.
A reporter from the Daily Star newspaper Morshed Ali Khan said, “It’s been made clear by the authorities that the highest priority would be to find survivors. Machinery is the last option.”
One woman was trapped under a machine for more than 45 hours. Unfortunately, her hand had to be amputated since the volunteers failed to pull it out, but she lived. Another went into labor and gave birth to a newborn and both were pulled out alive.
For three days, a man was trapped under a slab that was too heavy to lift with the outdated machinery, so the man did not survive. Workers also found two bodies of a man and woman holding each other under piles of dust.
People in Dhaka want justice for those who lost their lives. One shouted that they did not want the victims’ blood to be valueless. They also protested with banners that read the words, “Hang the killers, Hang the Factory Owners.”
Because murder complaints were filed against the Rana Paza owner Mohammed Sohel Rana, the police went on a four-day man hunt to find him. They arrested Rana, as they believe he was trying to flee across the border of India to escape the files charged against him.
There is a total of nine individuals in police custody, including Rana and engineers and factory owners. They could all face the death penalty if they are found guilty of mass murder.
“These people made their workers go into a building they knew was falling apart because the materials they used to construct the building were not reliable for wetland. They even knew that it was not cleared by the government, but they still built it,” said sophomore Victoria Marino.