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Death toll from Bangladesh building collapse above 800

Reporter Sarah Hashim-Waris from The Times newsroom with details on the rescue of a seamstress named Reshma, who survived for 17 days in the rubble of a collapsed building in Bangladesh that has claimed the lives of at least 1,000 people.

The death toll from a building collapse in Bangladesh surpassed 800 Wednesday, as salvage workers continued to pull bodies from the rubble two weeks after the disaster.

Many bodies were so badly decomposed that DNA samples were collected to identify them, the Associated Press reported.

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The building just outside the capital, Dhaka, housed several garment factories and was full of  workers when it collapsed April 24.  Some workers said they were told to enter the building despite their concern about visible cracks.

By Wednesday afternoon, the number of dead stood at 803, according to salvage officials quoted by the national news agency, Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha.

The disaster spotlighted dismal working conditions in Bangladesh's $20-billion apparel export industry.

The government has vowed to crack down. A number of people have been  arrested since the collapse, including the building's owner. The government also said it would inspect garment factories for building flaws.

Officials announced Wednesday that 18 plants have been shut down for failing to meet work and safety standards, news reports said.

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