Death Toll In Bangladesh Building Collapse Over 1,100
It’s been nearly two weeks since a building in Bangladesh housing five separate garment factories collapsed, killing an untold number of workers, and the news just keeps getting worse:
The police said Saturday that the death toll from the collapse of a garment-factory building in Bangladesh had soared past 1,100 as recovery operations continued.
Doctors said that a seamstress who was rescued Friday, 17 days after the eight-story building collapsed, was recovering in a hospital but was exhausted, panicked and dehydrated. On Saturday, rescue workers resumed digging through the rubble, and the death toll reached 1,115.
“We will not leave the operation until the last dead body and living person is found,” said Maj. Gen. Chowdhury Hasan Suhrawardy, the head of the local military units in charge of rescue operations.
It’s still unclear what caused the collapse, but speculation has focused on poor construction standards. In addition, the event has raised some debate in the west over the question of the cost of using cheap labor to make the goods that appear on our store shelves. In the end, though, it’s really up to the Bangladeshis to deal with this problem. There’s really nothing stopping them from tightening safety conditions at factories, and perhaps this tragedy will cause them to do so. Indeed, it’s unclear that doing so would even have a significant impact on the nation’s status as a haven for garment and other manufacturing. Nor do I think it’s correct to say, as some have suggested that Westerners bear some kind of moral culpability for accidents like this simply because we buy clothes manufactured in nations like Bangladesh. It’s not the responsibility of consumers to monitor work practices half a world away, and it’s unfair to make people feel guilty for things that they have no control over. Yes, Bangladesh should improve itself, just like the United States did in the early part of the 20th Century, but that’s their choice to make, not ours. Finally, we ought to note that, presently, we don’t even know what caused this building collapse or if it could have been prevented. So, let’s not use this tragedy to go off on a moral crusade.