ECONOMYNEXT – The building that collapsed in Kandy killing an infant and two adults may not have been built according to specifications that are required for construction on steep slopes, officials say.
An officer from the National Building Research Organisation (NBRO) who is on the site of the collapsed structure said this was built in 2006 before strict regulations were introduced for such buildings in 2011.
Samantha Bogahapitiya of the NBRO’s Kandy office told EconomyNext that they are probing the incident to find out what caused the collapse.
The five-story building collapsed in the heart of Kandy, in Buwelikada in the early hours of this morning.
The building fell on to a neighbouring house where a sleeping family was buried by the rubble.
Two women and the infant were found alive by rescuers, but the baby died after being admitted to the Kandy Hospital, Police Media said.
A couple who were trapped under rubble has succumbed.
Army Spokesman Brigadier Chandana Wickramesinghe, told EconomyNext that the remains of three people, the baby and a couple believed to be its parents are now being examined by doctors to determine the cause of death.
Bogahapitiya said that the five-story structure “is also a residence. Neighbors had seen the pillars supporting the building giving way alerted the residents who were able to escape,” he said.
Kandy Police are responding to the disaster with the assistance of troops from Army 1st Division stationed in Kandy.
Bogahapitiya said the collapse of the building is a “lesson for people who don’t take precautions when building on steep sites.”
He said although government regulations were introduced in 2011 “they are mostly observed in the breach. It is expensive for the proper reinforcements to be built so some take shortcuts.”
The collapsed building is close to a well-known Tourist Hotel situated in Sanghamitta Mawatha about a kilometre from the centre of the hill capital.
(Colombo, September 20, 2020)
Reported by Arjuna Ranawana