Bangladeshi storm victims flee cracked homes

Residents of an apartment building in the Bangladeshi capital fled their homes on Saturday after cracks appeared in the aftermath of a storm,

Bangladeshi storm victims flee cracked homes

Residents of an apartment building in the Bangladeshi capital fled their homes on Saturday after cracks appeared in the aftermath of a storm, two days following a fire that killed more than 100 people in an old city district.

Firefighters, rescue teams and police and rescuers rushed to the 22-storey building in Shantinagar, a district developed in the 1960s and 1970s, after a storm with winds gusting up to 80 kph (50 mph) lashed the area.

The incident raised new questions about building standards after Thursday's fire that raced through the centuries-old Kayettuli district, a warren of narrow streets, multi-storey blocks and tin-roofed dwellings, killing at least 117 people.

With rescue operations after the fire now declared ended, some of the more than 100 injured remained in critical condition in hospitals. Flags flew at half mast, television played sombre music and grieving relatives gathered at gravesites.

Dhaka is a bustling city of 12 million, but many buildings are poorly constructed because of lack of supervision and circumventing of regulations.

Officials have suggested that narrow roads and a lack of proper fire escapes contributed to the high death toll and some groups have called for an immediate improvement in standards and a crackdown on bribe-taking in the building trade.

"The authorities must ensure adequate standards for each building for the safety of the users," Quamrul Islam Chowdhury, a leader of the Bangladesh envirnment journalists group, said in a statement.

Last Tuesday, 25 people were killed and 50 injured when a building collapsed in the capital's Begunbari area.

Reuters

Last Mod: 05 Haziran 2010, 14:23
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