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Bangladesh garment disaster death toll crosses 800

DHAKA, Bangladesh — Dozens of bodies recovered Wednesday from a collapsed garment factory building were so decomposed they were being sent to a lab for DNA identification, police said, as the death toll from Bangladesh’s worst industrial disaster topped 800.

Following protests, authorities also began disbursing salaries and other benefits to survivors of the collapse.

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The European Union’s delegation to Bangladesh urged the government to ‘‘act immediately’’ to improve working conditions. Authorities said the government has closed 18 garment factories in recent days for failing to meet work and safety standards.

Police said 803 bodies had been recovered from the wreckage of the eight-story Rana Plaza building by late afternoon and more were expected as salvage work continued two weeks after the collapse.

The disaster is the worst ever in the garment sector, far surpassing fires last year that killed about 260 people in Pakistan and 112 in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh earns nearly $20 billion a year from exports of garment products, mainly to the United States and Europe.

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