- The Washington Times - Friday, May 3, 2013

The finance minister for Bangladesh said Friday that the building collapse that killed at least 500 — and maybe more, as the death count continues to rise — isn’t that big of a deal.

In his words: It’s not “really serious,” he said, The Associated Press reported.

Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith’s statements came as emergency responders were still trying to locate and pull bodies from the April 24 collapse. The building was eight stories and spanned several blocks. The government has meanwhile turned its eye on the construction to find fault, and just arrested an engineer and suspended a mayor for allegedly and illegally adding three floors to the structure. The building’s owner was arrested, also, AP reported.

The finance minister’s dismissal of the devastation of the collapse seemed a weak way of the government’s attempt to defend itself from blame, AP said.

Mr. Muhith said the disaster wouldn’t hurt the city’s garment industry, and added: “The present difficulties … well, I don’t think it is really serious. It’s an accident. And the steps that we have taken in order to make sure that it doesn’t happen, they are quite elaborate and I believe that it will be appreciated by all,” AP reported