28 April 2013
A rescue worker inspects the site of the collapsed Rana Plaza building, before heavy machinery is brought in to assist operations, on 28 April.
On 24 April, an eight-story building collapsed in Savar, near the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka, killing more than 1,100 people. Rana Plaza, which housed five garment factories, had been designed with only six stories and intended for shops and offices only. Two further stories had been added, and the collapse was in part blamed on the weight and vibration of the garment factories’ heavy machinery. Rana Plaza had been briefly shut down the day before, when cracks appeared in its walls and pillars, but factory workers had been called back in, hours before the building fell. Rescue operations took nearly three weeks. Workers in Rana Plaza made clothes for popular Western brands. The disaster highlighted the hazardous conditions workers face in Bangladesh’s €16 billion garment industry, where many are paid as little as €30 a month. Only a few of the brands using the factories attended a meeting of the world’s largest retailers in Geneva, in the aftermath of the Rana Plaza collapse, and four made contributions to a compensation fund for victims and their families.