International News

Bangladesh: Fire kills 80 workers
Last Wednesday night a fire ripped through several multi-storey buildings, many of them housing chemical and plastic warehouses, in a crammed old part of Bangladesh capital Dhaka. The fire broke out in a chemical warehouse on the ground floor of a five-storey building. By Thursday, the death toll had risen to 70, but fire officials warned it could rise further as dozens of people were trapped in the buildings and the firefighters had not yet entered the main spot where the fire broke out. The fire burned for over 12 hours, and by Friday the toll had reached 80, but was still expected to rise. 

The authorities have promised to drive illegal chemical factories out of the capital and the national government led by Sheikh Hasina has ordered all chemical factories in the labyrinthine old city to be shut, a promise made by the local government after a fire in the area nine years ago that killed more than 120 people.

Dhaka is the most densely populated city in the world and that, combined with lax enforcement of safety regulations, leaves it vulnerable to extraordinary deadly disasters. The fire and collapse of the Rana Plaza building in 2013 killed more than 1,100 garment workers and was one of the worst industrial accidents ever.  
Read more: The Hindu; The Guardian.

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