DHAKA - Bangladesh defended Tuesday its decision to snub foreign aid after the collapse of a garment factory complex where at least 388 people died as the UN revealed it had offered specialist help to find survivors. With the death toll from the country's worst ever industrial disaster still rising, the government faces criticism and angry protests over its handling of the tragedy and the lack of oversight blamed for the loss of life.

"The need for immediate foreign assistance was not felt because our rescue operation has been sufficient and exemplary," Home Secretary Mustak Ahmed told AFP, adding the government was "grateful" for offers from Britain among others.

The UN's humanitarian advisor in Bangladesh Gerson Brandao said he had made emergency disaster teams based in Singapore and Abu Dhabi available within hours of the accident last Wednesday morning.

"These are a group of people who are experts. They have dogs, micro cameras and other equipment that we do not have in Bangladesh," Brandao told AFP.