| 11.6°C Dublin

Vital UN rescue aids spurned in Dhaka collapse disaster

Close

Mohammed Sohel Rana, owner of the Rana Plaza, is escorted outside of court after his hearing in Dhaka

Mohammed Sohel Rana, owner of the Rana Plaza, is escorted outside of court after his hearing in Dhaka

Mohammed Sohel Rana, owner of the Rana Plaza, is escorted outside of court after his hearing in Dhaka

Bangladesh discarded hi-tech search equipment that could have saved people trapped in the Dhaka building collapse.

Thermal imaging and telescopic search cameras were given to Bangladesh in a €17m UN aid package for disaster management.

According to the police, 384 bodies have been recovered from Dhaka's Rana Plaza building, but up to 900 are still missing, presumed dead, in the ruins.

Bangladesh has faced strong criticism for rejecting emergency assistance but said yesterday that its handling of the crisis had been "exemplary".

"The need for immediate foreign assistance was not felt because our rescue operation has been sufficient and exemplary. Our army, firefighters, police and volunteers did a very good job. We also have enough equipment," Mustak Ahmed, the home secretary, said.

The cameras were discarded by commanders at Rana Plaza who said they were not appropriate for the conditions.

Bangladesh received 20 search cameras and 16 thermal image cameras in 2010 under the UN's disaster management programme.

While senior officers received some general training in their use, UN advisers said they believe those on the ground searching for survivors had not.

Major Zihad, the fire service's training director, said his rescuers could not use the equipment because the gaps between concrete pillars were too narrow and the cavities too dark. The tangle of concrete prevented his men using the thermal cameras to find survivors.

Separately, a Bangladesh court has ordered the government to confiscate the property of the owner of the collapsed garment factory building in which nearly 400 people died.

The order came after police produced the building owner, Mohammed Sohel Rana, and the factory owners in court.

It was implied that the salaries of the dead victims would be paid to their relatives. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent