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Death toll now at 660 in Bangladesh building collapse

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

New Delhi, May 6 (EFE).- The April 24 collapse of a textile complex killed at least 660 people, according to the latest figures released Monday by Bangladeshi police.

A police spokesman confirmed the updated death toll to the state-run BSS news agency, noting that recovery teams had found 27 additional bodies over the past 24 hours.

The biggest industrial tragedy in the history of Bangladesh also injured 2,437 people who were in the nine-story building in Savar, a suburb of the capital, Dhaka.

An undetermined number of workers remain missing, probably buried under the enormous pile of rubble, which the army and other public service agencies have been working to remove for almost two weeks.

The National Garment Workers Association estimates that around 4,000 workers were inside Rana Plaza when it collapsed.

Employees of the five separate garment factories operating at Rana Plaza were ordered to work on the day of the collapse even though police had detected cracks in the structure the day before.

Government investigators have blamed the disaster on vibrations from illegal generators located on the top floors of the building and from thousands of sewing machines.

"The weight and vibrations of the power generators exerted tremendous pressure on the building's structure," Uddin Khandaker, the Interior Ministry official leading the probe, told Efe last week.

Khandaker said the prolonged use of heavy machinery also weakened the structure of the building, which, he noted, was intended for commercial - not industrial - use, and had been built with "very low quality" materials.

The catastrophe has sparked widespread protests and shone a fresh spotlight on poor working and safety conditions at Bangladeshi textile factories that supply Western multinational corporations.

International retailers Primark, El Corte Ingles, Bonmarche and Joe Fresh have confirmed they were supplied by one of the factories located inside the collapsed building.

Authorities have arrested the owner of the building, who has ties to Bangladesh's governing party, along with several operators of the garment factories and municipal engineers.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/agencia-efe/130506/death-toll-now-at-660-bangladesh-building-collapse