DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — The death toll from last month's collapse of a building housing garment factories in Bangladesh has passed 700, police said Tuesday, as survivors of the country's worst-ever industrial disaster protested for compensation.
The police control room overseeing the recovery operation said the toll reached 705 dead Tuesday afternoon as workers pulled more bodies out of the wreckage of the illegally built eight-story building that housed five garment factories.
The disaster is the worst ever in the garment sector, surpassing the 1911 garment disaster in New York's Triangle Shirtwaist factory, which killed 146 workers, and more recent tragedies such as a 2012 fire that killed about 260 people in Pakistan and one in Bangladesh that killed 112, also in 2012.
Also Tuesday, hundreds of garment workers who survived the April 24 collapse of Rana Plaza blocked a major highway near the accident site in a Dhaka suburb to demand wages and other benefits.
Local government administrator Yousuf Harun said they are working with a garment industry body to ensure the workers are paid.
No violence was reported, although traffic was disrupted for hours.
Officials say the building's owner illegally added three floors and allowed the garment factories to install generators. Vibrations from garment machines and from the generators were thought to have contributed to the collapse.