Mass funeral delayed; Bangladesh death toll tops 400

May 1, 2013 at 7:55 AM
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DHAKA, Bangladesh, May 1 (UPI) -- Bangladeshi officials said they delayed a mass funeral for 38 victims of a building collapse as streams of families showed at hospitals to claim bodies.

Dhaka Additional District Magistrate Abul Fazal Mir told that 70 bodies were sent to the Dhaka Medical College and Hospital and Mitford Hospital morgues.

Of those, 17 remain unclaimed at Mitford and 21 at DMCH, the website said.

A mass funeral for the unclaimed bodies was scheduled for Wednesday morning but has been delayed.

"The burial time was earlier set for 10 a.m. but it has been deferred ... on humanitarian grounds. Many are still coming in to identify the bodies," the magistrate said.

Officials said Wednesday the death toll in the collapse of the Rana Plaza building topped 400. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said 408 people died while Col. Shayekh Jaman of the Bangladeshi army put the number at 402.

The eight-story building in Dhaka collapsed April 24. About 3,000 people were believed to be in the building when it collapsed. About 2,430 were known to have survived but an unknown number remain in the rubble of the building, CNN reported.

Officials said Monday there was little hope for any more survivors to be found and crews started using heavy machinery to clear concrete slabs weighing 5-12 tons.

Jaman said efforts to recover the dead could take place for another 10 days.

"It is a delicate and time-consuming operation but we are doing everything we can," he said.

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