Savar Building Collapse

On 24 April 2013 a building named Rana Plaza, an eight storey structure collapsed in the district of dhaka,bangladesh. The search for the dead ended on 13 May 2013 with a death toll of 1,134.Approximately 2,500 injured people were rescued from the building alive. It is regarded as the most deadly structural failure in modern history. There were clothes factories, a bank, apartments and several shops in the building. Shops and the bank on the lower floors were closed immediately after cracks in the building were discovered. The owners of the building ignored warnings that they would not use the building after cracks appeared the previous day. The garment workers were ordered to return the next day and the building collapsed at the rush hour in the morning.

Rescue team working to save people trapped in collapsed building

The building was owned by the Sohel Rana (a political person) and around 5000 people used to work in that building. The building was originally a 4 storey structure and the upper four floors were built latter on without a permit. The building was designed for businesses and offices–but not for factories. Other architects emphasized the risks of placing factories in a building designed exclusively for shops and offices, noting that the structure was potentially not strong enough to bear the weight and vibration of heavy machinery.The factories produced apparel for brands such as Benetton, Bonmarché, El Corte Inglés, Joe Fresh, Monsoon Accessorize, Mango, Matalan, Primark and Walmart.

A TV channel recorded films showing cracks in the Rana Plaza building on 23 April 2013. The building was evacuated immediately afterwards, and the shops and banks in the lower floors were closed. Sohel Rana told the media later that the building was safe and workers should come back tomorrow. Ether Tex managers threatened to withhold a month’s wages from workers who refused to work.

Authorities confirmed that at the time of the collapse, 3,122 workers were in the building. The urban search and rescue coordination group of the United Nations–known as the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group or INSARAG–offered assistance from its members, but the Government of Bangladesh rejected this offer. The Government has stated that the local emergency rescue services in the area are well equipped.  Before offering assistance to Bangladesh, the United Nations held consultations to evaluate the country’s ability to undertake an effective rescue operation and concluded that it lacked this ability. In order to take “face-saving “actions and protect national sensitivities, Bangladeshi officials refused to accept the assistance offered by the UN. A large part of the rescue operation consisted of volunteers who were inadequately equipped, many of whom had no protective clothes and wore sandals.

Control measures that can be taken are as follows:

  • Government should demolish the structure build without permit and also give harsh punishment to people involved in it.
  • The companies should be aware of the location where their products are manufactured and make sure it is safe to set-up factory there.
  • After getting evidence of the building being weak, government authorities should immediate action and stop people from entering it.
  • The government should take help of external forces when it is the question of lives of people.