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Heiwadori shut down by heavy flooding

Date Posted: 2007-08-12

The Heiwadori mall tucked into the Kokusai Street shopping mecca was ordered closed Saturday after heavy rains caused an river beneath the area to overflow.
Heiwadori was a victim of more than 433mm rain that fell throughout the day, spawned by a tropical depression southwest of Okinawa. Hospitals, hotels, homes, restaurants and hundreds of small shops were shut down.
A construction worker who parked in front of a hotel to inspect the roof during the storm was shocked upon returning after the ten-minute trek. His car was flooded, filled completely with water.
Outlying islands, including Kume, Zamami, Tokashiki and Tonaki, have been isolated for several days already, as ferry services were cut in anticipation of the storm. It’s been three days since fresh food has been available to outer island residents, and tourists are stranded either on those outer islands, or in Naha City. Officials say more than 400 tourists are trapped on those islands, and tourism officials are scrambling to cancel hundreds of reservations for the next several days, unable to provide service.
Stores and shops on outer islands are seeing shelves emptied quickly, and some are already bare. “If it was a typhoon, we’d know in advance and get foods stocked up,” said one frustrated store operator. “But now, we didn’t know such bad weather was coming out, and the ferries stopped.” She said “we don’t keep too much fresh food in stock because of the short expiration dates. That’s why there is no food in the shops.”

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