It’s a horrific story, and one that’s all too familiar: a building outside of Dhaka, Bangladesh housing numerous garment factories collapsed yesterday, with recent numbers putting the death toll at at least 194.
The Associated Press reports that inspectors found cracks in the foundation of the building, called Rana Plaza, on Tuesday, and ordered managers to evacuate their employees. While the local bank complied, thousands of garment employees went back to work yesterday at 8:00 AM, an hour before a massive section of the eight-story building caved in.
The news comes just a few months after the November fire that killed 112 at the nearby Tazreen Fashions, and has provoked renewed outcry from Bangladeshi officials and labor rights groups surrounding the low wages and lack of safety provisions in the country’s $20 billion-a-year textile industry.
According to CNN, some of the Western companies that sourced garments from Rana Plaza include the UK’s Primark and North America’s The Children’s Place, Dress Barn, and Joe Fresh. Walmart has also issued a statement saying they are investigating whether they employ any of the factories as a supplier, while Mango has stated that they had only discussed a test sample with a Rana Plaza factory at the time of the collapse.
But while mass retailers try to distance themselves from the latest harrowing events in Bangladesh, workers remain trapped under the rubble, and the realities of third-world garment production become harder and harder to ignore — or at least they should.
Watch the videos below for footage of the ongoing rescue efforts: