Economy

Bangladesh Garment Factory Fire Kills At Least 10 People

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CREDIT: AP

A fire at a garment factory on the outskirts of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, killed at least 10 people as of Tuesday night. Scores more are believed to be injured, and the death toll could rise.

Four buildings caught on fire with 170 workers inside, but most were able to escape. The cause of the fire isn’t known but the government is investigating.

The latest disaster comes after the Rana Plaza factory collapse in April that killed 1,127 people. That tragedy was found to have been caused by “extremely” poor quality building materials and violations of building regulations. Since then, inspectors have found that three-fifths of the buildings they’ve looked at are vulnerable to collapse.

While the Rana Plaza disaster spurred calls to inspect and upgrade the country’s factories, there are not nearly enough inspectors in the country to cover all of the buildings that need to be looked at. Meanwhile, the inspections that have happened have been incredibly spotty and easily gamed.

Retailers have also largely responded by pledging to upgrade the factories they use in the country, but while 70, including H&M, Abercrombie & Fitch, and others signed a legally binding plan, 17 other American brands led by Walmart and Gap signed their own, which has less accountability. Yet the costs of making sure the country’s factories are safe for workers wouldn’t have to be large: If retailers passed it entirely on to consumers, garment prices would only rise by 10 cents per item.