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Evacuations ordered after rains threaten condo collapse

Date Posted: 2006-06-16

A four-story condo complex is in danger of collapsing from heavy rains spawned Monday, triggering evacuations of more than 400 people.

The barrage of bad weather ripped through Okinawa early in the week, causing the condo complex in the Shuri area, near Shuri Castle, to suffer structural damage. Parts of the building parking lot caved in, sliding nearly two meters down the hillside. Five cars were dragged down with the lot, which has a 40 meters long crack thatís 70 centimeters wide. Officials say the condo remains in danger of collapse.

Forty people have been evacuated from the structure, moving to temporary lodging in a nearby community hall and relativesí homes.

Nakagusuku Village experienced a road cave in over the weekend that expanded Wednesday washing away a 80-meter long section of the road. Two private houses are in danger of collapsing. 366 people in 109 families were evacuated and electrical power and telephone lines cut to several dozens of homes.

The cave in caused more than just earth and shifting sands, as four large construction excavators were buried under the landslide.

The danger of landslides has officials closing down a part of Highway 329 in the area at night time.
The rains are expected to subside today, but forecasters say the danger isnít over yet. The rainy season began a month ago, and according to Okinawa Meteorological Bureau this year has seen twice the normal rainfall that has softened the ground in many places.

In Uruma Cityís Kouse area, rains caused farm lands to slide and erode, with one single stretch 100 metrs long and 30 meters wide caving in. In Nago City to the north, a resident reports his back yard collapsed six meters down the slope.

The river at Kume Islandís Gima area overflowed and water washed over Route 69 and broke waterpipes, leaving residents without water. At Nanjou City in Tamagusuku Itokazu area, Route 86 has been marked a danger area because of falling rocks. Police have closed one lane.

Electrical power was disrupted to parts of Okinawa over the past four days, leaving 3,900 families in a southern area without electricity for a few hours Monday night. Forecasters say there will be a break this weekend, with sunshine finally peeking though.

Itoman City reported strong winds buffeting its fire engines, damaging and breaking three engine windows. There were also reports of fallen roadside guard rails in the Teruya area, as well as numerous instances of trash, garbage and debris hurled through the air by wind gusts.

At San A Shopping Centerís Ishimine Branch, river waters flooded a large section of the parking lot, keeping about 30 meters of the area too deep for cars to park.

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