Police say a clothing giveaway in Mymensingh, Bangladesh, a city north of the capital, ended in the deaths of at least 20 people on Friday when a stampede broke out among hundreds of people trying to rush through narrow factory doors in order to get free clothing.
According to the AFP, authorities said that people started gathering outside the chewing tobacco factory at around 4:45 a.m. after owners said they’d distribute clothing for free as a charity gesture during Ramadan. At least 1,500 people lined up and tried to force their way in, causing the stampede. Police have counted 20 dead bodies, but say there could be more. From the AFP:
“Most of the dead are poor and emaciated women,” Kamrul Islam, a senior officer at a police station near the factory, told AFP.
Mymensingh police chief Moinul Haque said at least 50 people were also injured.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina offered her condolences over a state-run news agency Friday, saying she “conveyed profound sympathy to the bereaved families.”