Wellawatte building collapse: What we know

Wellawatte building collapse: What we know

Wellawatte building collapse: What we know

Written by Lahiru Fernando

19 May, 2017 | 8:19 am

Thursday, May 18, 10:30 am – A section of a five-storey building in Wellawatte collapsed. Twenty four people were hospitalised in the incident. The cause is still unknown and the owner is yet to be located.

The building – a reception hal l- is located behind the Savoy Cinema.

Search and rescue

Rescue operations are being carried out by personnel of the Sri Lanka Army, Sri Lanka Navy, Police, Police Special Task Force and the Fire Service Department.

Survivor accounts

18581966_1528544430539143_1156009416191630138_n“It happened so fast we had no time to even run. Everything collapsed on me while I was running.”

“Thank God I was able to get out. I had to crawl out. I heard screams behind me, I do not know what happened to them. There were about a hundred people inside the building. I do not know what happened to the rest.”

“There were around 20 of us on the ground floor but altogether, there were quite a lot of people.”

The injured

  • Colombo National Hospital – 9 (ICU)
  • Colombo South Teaching Hospital – 15 (no critical injuries)



The Ministry of Disaster Management has said that it is hoping to locate the building contractor for substantive information.

When questioned if there are concerns on the standard of the building, the Ministry said that it “cannot be ascertained as yet” without proper information.

“The situation is risky because the building has tilted.” said S. Hapuarachchi of the Ministry of Disaster Management.

Meanwhile, the Dehiwala Divisional Secretary has said that, despite being repaired, the building standards are “quite old”. However, DS Balasubramaniyam went on to state that even to make repairs, there is a need for approval from the Urban Council’s Planning Unit.

“So the Planning Unit will only approve the construction plan if the proper standards are met. We are now inquiring as to whether this process has been followed.” he added.

Was the building’s plan approved by the Urban Council?

If it was, how?

Was the building inspected and a Certificate of Compliance issued for a reception hall?

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