It says the incident illustrates the need for authorities and owners to ensure that buildings are built in compliance with the national code requirements
The International Labour Organization (ILO) has expressed deep sadness over the death of at least 52 workers in a fire at a factory of Hashem Food Ltd, a concern of Sajeeb Group, in Narayanganj on Thursday.
In a statement on Saturday, the UN agency said it was also deeply saddened to see reports of underage workers among the victims.
“We extend our heartfelt condolences and solidarity with the families of the victims and others injured at this factory,” it said.
The fire illustrates the urgent need in Bangladesh for authorities and building owners to ensure that buildings, in which thousands of workers spend the better part of their day, are built and operated in compliance with national code requirements, the ILO stressed.
“If the fire safety measures required by the regulations were properly implemented, it would provide for the safe evacuation of occupants in this type of emergency,” it added.
The ILO said it has worked closely with the Bangladesh government, employers’ and workers’ organizations, and development partners to improve working conditions in the readymade garment industry and will continue to do so.
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The massive fire at the food processing factory in Narayanganj’s Rupganj upazila, which has so far killed 52 people, was brought under control on Friday night after 29 hours of frantic efforts by firefighters.
Three deaths were reported in the immediate aftermath of the fire on Thursday at the six-storey building in the Kornogop area of Bhulta, Rupganj.
More than 50 other workers were injured after jumping off the building as the massive fire broke out and spread everywhere within minutes.
Forty-nine bodies were later recovered from the building's fourth floor where most of the workers had taken shelter, firefighters said.
Of the injured, 25 are currently undergoing treatment at US-Bangla Medical College Hospital in Narayanganj and at least 10 people at Dhaka Medical College Hospital.
However, many workers — including children — were still missing even after 24 hours of the blaze.
Fire Service chief Brig Gen Sajjad Hossain said flammable materials were stored on each floor of the building, which was why the fire spread rapidly from the ground floor to the whole building and took so long to douse it.