Death toll from Bangladesh's building collapse crosses 600

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Twelve days after the worst industrial disaster in Bangladesh's history, rescuers on Sunday pulled out 53 more decomposed bodies from the rubbles of the eight-storey building, taking the toll to 620.

Search teams said the toll would certainly rise since debris had only been cleared down to the fifth floor of the pan-caked building, and a strong stench from lower floors suggested more bodies would be found.

The building, Rana Plaza, in Savar near the capital Dhaka, housed five garment factories, collapsed on April 24, trapping more than 3,000 people. Some 2,437 people have been rescued so far.

The rescue control room, set up at the site of the disaster, said about 75 per cent of the deceased identified were female apparel workers, local media reported.

Hundreds of people are still waiting at the collapse site, with some carrying small posters with photographs of their relatives who are still unaccounted for.

Many people were seen shuttling between the army control room, the district administration control room, where people still feared missing were being enlisted.

Brigadier General Siddiqul Alam Sikhder, who is coordinating the rescue job, said, "We are recovering bodies almost every hour and we will continue with the job in this manner until we recover all the bodies. It is very difficult to say exactly many days it would take as we do not know how many bodies are still buried under the rubble."

Police have charged the building owner Sohel Rana and five factory owners with causing death due to negligence and violating construction laws, charges punishable by a maximum seven years in jail.

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