(Photo: REUTERS/Andrew Biraj)
A massive building collapse in Bangladesh on Wednesday has left over 200 people dead with rescue workers still trying to dig out many others from the rubble on Thursday.
"Save us, brother. I beg you, brother. I want to live," one distraught man told an Associated Press cameraman as rescue workers helped remove the concrete slabs that pinned him down. "It's so painful here ... I have two little children."
The disaster occurred in the Dhaka suburb of Savar, and according to officials is the biggest single loss of life the country has suffered. Police had ordered the unstable buildings to be evacuated a day earlier, but more than 2,000 people were still on-site when the eight-story building collapsed.
The men and women were apparently working in the nation's booming garment industry, making clothes for major brands from around the world, including U.S. retail giant Wal-Mart.
"After we got the crack reports, we asked them to suspend work until further examination, but they did not pay heed," said Atiqul Islam, the president of The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
According to Reuters, more than 1,000 people have been injured, though officials are still counting the bodies and removing survivors from the site of the collapse, which is beginning to take on the stench of the dead bodies.
"An unspecified number of victims are still trapped," said Mizanur Rahman, a rescue worker with the fire brigade. "We can't be certain of getting them all out alive. We are losing a bit of hope."
The city of Dhaka has filed a case against the building's owner for the faulty construction. Meanwhile, hundreds of students have been donating blood at clinics in Savar as doctors struggle to cope with the large number of injured persons.
Bangladesh has declared a national day of mourning and flags are being flown at half mast.