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Bangladesh garment factory disaster death toll crosses 800

Decomposing bodies sent for DNA tests

DHAKA, Bangladesh  — Dozens of bodies recovered today from a collapsed garment factory building were so decomposed they were being sent to a lab for DNA identification, police said, as the death toll from Bangladesh’s worst industrial disaster topped 800.

Following protests, authorities also began disbursing salaries and other benefits to survivors of the collapse.

Police said 803 bodies had been recovered from the wreckage of the eight-story Rana Plaza building by late afternoon and more were expected as salvage work continued two weeks after the April 24 collapse.

There is no clear indication of how many bodies still remain trapped in the debris because the exact number of people inside the building at the time of the collapse is unknown. More than 2,500 people were rescued alive.

The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association earlier said 3,122 workers were employed at the five factories housed in the building, but it was not clear how many were there during the packed morning shift when it collapsed.

Maj. Gen. Chowdhury Hasan Suhrawardy, a top military official in the area, said the operation to recover bodies from the tangle of wreckage could continue for two to three more days before they would ask the local administration to take care of the site.

Authorities said today they had to send 36 decomposing bodies to Dhaka Medical College Hospital to collect DNA samples because they were beyond identification.

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