DHAKA (TIP): The death toll from the past week’s collapse of a garment factory complex in Bangladesh passed 500 on May 3 as the country’s prime minister said Western retailers had to share some of the blame for the tragedy.With bulldozers now clawing away at the mountain of rubble at the site of the disaster, the number of bodies being recovered from the country’s deadliest industrial disaster has been increasing sharply. Lieutenant Mir Rabbi, an officer in a special army control room set up to coordinate the rescue operation, told AFP the “death toll now stands at 501”, a sharp rise on the figure of 441 compiled by authorities on May 2 evening.

Dozens more people are thought to have been buried alive after the eight-storey building collapsed on April 24 in Savar, which lies around 30 kilometres (20 miles) to the northwest of Dhaka. Around 3,000 garment workers were on shift at the time of the disaster in the Rana Plaza compound which housed five different textile factories. Spain’s Mango, Britain’s low-cost Primark chain and the Italian label Benetton were among the retailers who have confirmed having products made at Rana Plaza where the typical worker took home less than 40 dollars a month