Bangladesh

Bangladesh Cement Factory Collapse Traps about 100 Workers

From CBC News

At least five people were killed and another about 100 feared trapped after a cement factory collapsed in Bangladesh on Thursday, police said.

Soldiers and sailors in the port town of Mongla helped emergency services search through the rubble and pull out more than 40 survivors, officials told Reuters

“Most of the people inside the building were the construction workers including the people who recovered alive … The recovery efforts are going on very carefully to avoid further risk,” Khulna district police chief Nizamul Haque Mollah said.

Fire official Mizanur Rahman told The Associated Press many of the survivors were injured and had been taken to hospital. The cause of the collapse is being investigated.

Bangladesh has a poor record for building safety.

A complex of shops and small factories collapsed in 2013 killing more than 1,130 people, most of them garment workers.

The collapse of Rana Plaza, built on swampy ground outside the capital, Dhaka, ranked among the world’s worst industrial accidents and prompted a global outcry for improved safety in the world’s second-largest exporter of ready-made garments.

Bangladeshi Tribals Evicted For Tea Plantation Expansion

From CorpWatch

Syed Tea and Land, a Bangladeshi company, has been accused of using armed men to evict ethnic minority communities in order to expand a tea plantation in Sreemangal in northeastern Bangladesh. The expansion will impact Kandas, Khasis and Tantis who have lived in the area for a century.

“For four generations, we have lived on this land but never before faced such a threat to survival,” Atit Kanda, a local tribal farmer, told Union of Catholic Asian (UCA) News earlier this month. “The armed mobs have destroyed about 4,000 to 5,000 of my pineapples worth 90,000 taka (US$1,150). I don’t know if I will be able to overcome this loss.”

Some 160 tea plantations dot northeastern Bangladesh. The companies that own them mostly market their products to the domestic market and are not as well known as their counterparts in India and Sri Lanka who export to every corner of the world. But the estates in all three countries depend on poorly paid workers who have lived inside the plantations for generations under conditions that date from colonial times when the British first introduced the beverage. (See “World Bank Agrees to Investigate Labor Conditions at Indian Tea Company” about conditions in the neigboring state of Assam.)

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Fire at Bangladesh plastics factory kills at least 13

From TimesUnion.com

A fire swept through a plastic packaging factory on Saturday night in Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka, killing at least 13 people, a fire department official said.

Fire department official Mohammed Farhaduzzaman said the fire was brought under control by late Saturday night and a search was under way for more victims. He said it’s not immediately clear how many people might be missing, but survivors told him about 70 workers were inside the building when the fire broke out at the five-story factory in Dhaka’s Mirpur district.

He said at least 13 bodies were recovered from the gutted building, and three people were hospitalized with burn injuries.

Local residents told the Daily Star newspaper that the factory recycled plastic and made packaging for food for the domestic market.

Safety conditions at Bangladeshi factories have come under international scrutiny in recent years. A fire at a garment factory killed 112 workers in 2012, and in 2013 more than 1,100 people died in the collapse of a building housing five garment factories. That led a group of mostly European fashion brands to fund safety inspections in garment factories that began last year.