Officials fail to identify final Bangladesh disaster victims

Officials fail to identify final Bangladesh disaster victims

DHAKA - Authorities have failed to identify the final 165 victims of Bangladesh's Rana Plaza factory collapse, an official said Monday, meaning their families still cannot be compensated six months after the disaster.

DNA samples were not properly collected from the bodies after the collapse that killed 1,135 people in one of the world's worst industrial accidents and highlighted appalling safety standards in the industry.

The identity of 322 people could not be immediately confirmed after the crumbling of the complex outside Dhaka, where workers stitched clothes for top Western retailers.

Their bodies were too badly damaged after the nine-storey building came down, trapping many under pancaked floors.

With bodies decomposing and fears of an outbreak of disease, officials buried them in a state graveyard in Dhaka after taking DNA samples for eventual identification.

"Of the 322 people, we have now identified 157 victims by matching their DNA samples with their parents, siblings and children," said Sharif Akhteruzzaman, head of the National Forensic DNA Profiling Laboratory.

The laboratory has handed over a list to the prime minister's office, making their families eligible for compensation, he told AFP.

The laboratory would now try to reanalyse DNA samples of the remaining 165 victims, but Akhteruzzaman said he was sceptical of success since samples from bones and teeth were not properly taken.

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