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Kandy deadly house collapse – family says they had little warning of the impending disaster

FATAL COLLAPSE – At least three are dead in the collapse of a building in Kandy

Economynext – The family which lived in the house in Kandy that collapsed killing a young neighbouring family has spoken publicly saying they had little warning of the disaster and managed to get out of the house in the nick of time before the disaster.

Speaking to reporters earlier today the chief occupant Aruna Lewke said that they had been awake, staying up with his daughter who was studying for the Advanced Level examination until 1:30 in the morning but there were no signs of the impending disaster.

“It was in the morning after 4 in the morning when my neighbour called and said that there were cracks developing in our walls that we realized that there was something wrong,” he recalled.

Lewke, a former Basnayake Nilame of the Dodangoda Natha Devale said there had been no early signs.

Other family members said that they awoke when there were noises and “the floor tiles began to rise.”

The family said that they were able to get out of the house just in time just as the house was about to crash down.

They insisted that they called the police as soon as they left the house and informed the Kandy Police headquarters about what was happening.

Yesterday police officers investigating the incident said they had not received any information and if they had, police could have evacuated the neighbourhood and saved lives.

The family expressed their sorrow with regard to the deaths of the young family in the neighbouring house which was buried by the debris of their house.

BEFORE AND AFTER – The multi-storey Lewke residence before and after it collapsed Sunday morning killing a neighboring family/Google maps – Upeksha Samanthi

Neighbours businessman Chamila Prasad 35, his wife 32-year-old lawyer Achala Ekanayake and their infant daughter perished as tons of debris crushed their house around 4.am Sunday.

Rescuers saved two other women in the house and pulled the baby out but she was found dead when she was taken to the hospital.

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The family confirmed that their house had been built in 2006, about five years before national laws requiring certification that their site was safe for building came into force.

Yesterday officials from the National Building Research Organisation (NBRO) told EconomyNext that strict guidelines about sites and safety are now in place.

The Lewke family insisted that they had received “all the necessary approvals that were required when we built the house at the time.” (Colombo, September 21, 2020)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana

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