The biggest and most tragic man made disaster of the recent memory in Bangladesh took place in Savar (a sub district of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh) just 4 days ago on April 24, 2013. On that day an eight story commercial building collapsed at about 8:30-9:00 in the morning marking the beginning of the worst day of the year.
The aim of this blog post is to record and present everything “as it happened”. All the information about the “2013 Savar Building Collapse” has been collected by the blogger by visiting the site himself and from secondary sources. If you notice any missing information, please contact us. It is worth mentioning that the blogger is also a resident of Savar, residing only 10 minutes away from the collapsed building.
Highlights of the Incident
- Identity: Named “Savar Tragedy” by the Bangladeshi media; Bangladesh Building Collapse by BBC
- Location: Savar, 27 kilometers north of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh
- Effected Building: Rana Plaza, Parking lot + eight floors, 1-3: Shopping Complex, 4-8 Garment Factory
- Established: 2007-2009 (Need exact information)
- Engineer: Need information
- Building Collapse: April 24, 2013; Around 8:30am-9:00am
- Suspect: Sohel Rana (Owner; Also the local Jubo League Leader)
- Casualty: 501 (upto April 30, 2013)
- Wounded: 1000+ (upto April 27, 2013)
- Survivors (including the wounded): 2450
The Collapsed Building: Rana Plaza
Rana Plaza, owned by the local Jubo League Leader (a youth wing of the ruling party) Sohel Rana, was supposed to be a modern shopping complex situated at the south edge of Savar Bus Stand area (commonly known as just Savar), on top the Dhaka-Aricha Highway. This eight story building had the foundation of a 4 story building. The first 3 floors were used as a shopping complex and the top 5 floors were occupied by 5 small garment factories. Around 5000 employeesused to work in this building. The basement or the parking lot was used as Sohel Rana’s office as well as an unofficial hangout spot for the local Jubo League members.
Half of the ground, where Rana Plaza was built upon, used to be a bog (low, wet land). After the developer company had built the parking lot and the first 2 floors, for some unconfirmed reason they did not continue the work and Sohel Rana himself took over the construction work of this building.
According to the news media, inspectors had sealed off the building the day before the collapse, as they noticed cracks along the building. The shopping complex and the bank of the first floor was shut down due to the critical condition. The 5 garment factories were supposed to be shut too, but 4 of them were still operational on the day of the collapse. The surviving workers claimed that their supervisors had called them to work assuring a safe environment and threatening to cut their salary.
The building collapsed at about 8:45am when the huge generators and the machinery started operating.
At about 9:30 members of Bangladesh Army arrived at the scene and started working with fire fighters, RAB, police and local volunteers. At the time of the collapse, Sohel Rana and some of his Jubo League mates were in his office. They escaped the scene soon after and are still wanted. So far the rescue work is going on day and night. They have withheld the use of heavy equipment as it might deteriorate the situation. They plan to use heavy equipment after 96 hours of the building collapse. So far the rescue team has been able to save 2525 people from the collapsed building and has pulled up 369 dead bodies from the rubble.
The wounded are taken to nearby hospitals, especially at Enam Medical College Hospital (private) and CMH (Army). But there are a few first aid camps built up near the site where doctors from different hospitals are treating the wounded. The dead bodies are being taken to a local school (Odhorchondro) so that the relatives can claim the body.
Government has issued 5,000Tk to all injured personnel and 20,000Tk to the families of the deceased. A private bank Dutch Bangla Bank Limited has issued 100,000Tk to each of the families of the deceased.
All transports have been shut down for about 10 kilometers area along the road so that the rescue work can continue without any problem.
Opinion of the Blogger
I am hurt, I am terrified and I am disgusted. But I am not going to talk about that. I am not going to spread the negativity which the situation certainly deserves. What I am going to talk about is love and hope. Hope of a better future – of a future free of corruption and greed, which I saw in the eyes of the selfless rescue workers. For 1 trained soldier or fire fighter who were working in the scene, there were atleast 5 civilian volunteers who worked just as hard to save some lives. I saw civilians working with a hammer, breaking through the rubble and pulling out trapped workers form the building. I saw the shop owners standing with water bottles and lemonades for the thousands of people who have been walking for about 10 kilometers in hopes of finding their loved ones who came to work there that morning. I saw that hospitals and blood donation agencies had to turn down donors as they had already collected more blood than they needed. I saw news casters shedding tears on live television while broadcasting the news about the collapse. I saw effort and hard work of individuals which is the very foundation of Bangladesh. I saw humanity.
And I hope that this humanity will prevail. This humanity will overpower greed and politics. This is the only true justice that the departed souls deserve.