Stampede at charity hand-out kills 30 people

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The Independent Online

At least 26 women and four children were killed and hundreds injured in a stampede when thousands of poor people scrambled for clothes being given away in a northern Bangladesh town yesterday.

At least 26 women and four children were killed and hundreds injured in a stampede when thousands of poor people scrambled for clothes being given away in a northern Bangladesh town yesterday.

The two men in charge of distributing the clothes were arrested for possible negligence, police at Gaibandha said.

The stampede started after more than 10,000 people, mostly women and children, gathered to collect clothes distributed by a local businessman before the Islamic Eid al-Fitr festival next week.

Most of the dead were women wanting saris, the traditional dress. Many were from the families of rickshaw-pullers and farm workers. Instead of forming a line when the guards opened the gates to the distribution site, an abandoned jute mill, the crowd surged into the compound.

"I saw my daughter falling on the ground and buried under the crowd," said Sahera Begum, 50, one of the survivors. "But I could do nothing to save her."

Abdul Latif, who witnessed the disaster, said: "At first, a couple of women fell. Others went down trying to save them. Soon I heard screaming and saw many women falling on to each other." (AP)

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