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Sunday rains mete out widespread damages

Date Posted: 2007-08-13

Heavy rains continued intermittently across Okinawa Sunday, fed by a tropical depression moving southwest of Okinawa toward China.
In the wake of Saturday’s 433mm (17”) torrent, yesterday’s downpour seemed almost mild, but still racked up more damages from Nago City south to Itoman City. More than 100 families remain evacuated from their homes, and a Prefecture Inspection Report shows 64 homes fully flooded and another 22 flooded to the ground floors. One house has partially collapsed.
Flood waters submerged 28 buses at the Naha City Bus Depot, and more than 50 automobiles are under water. Officials report eight vehicles severely damaged, as well. At least 32 city streets were more than one meter under water, and one road heavily damaged. Landslides have been documented in 27 locations, and one water pipe burst.
A landslide in the Okinawa City’s City Hall parking lot spanned more than 30 meters, to a height of 15 meters. Officials have recommended families evacuate. Panic spread through the area as sand, mud and trees crushed the fence and slid into History Park between city offices and nearby apartments.
Two rivers, one in Naha City and one in Nago City, overflowed their banks, causing much damage. In the north, farm crops are wiped out as fields flooded. Officials say vegetables and fruits are all ruined. Itoman City farmers are reporting similar woes.
A Naha City landslide at an apartment complex construction project drew attention and evacuation orders Saturday after a crack appeared in the parking area. Those cracks have now widened to 2-3 meters, and a nearby water tank has sunk 15 centimeters.
Kokusai Street’s Heiwadori shopping area was heavily flooded Saturday, and continuing rains plagued the street Sunday. Business owners are angry, blaming bridge construction techniques as a cause of their dilemma. Iron pillars in place during construction, they say, prevented water from flowing within the river bed. That water overflowed banks and into their shops, many of which are underground.
Preliminary damages in the Kokusai shopping area alone have been estimated at ¥20 million ($172,400). Owners met Sunday afternoon to discuss how to get the water out, and their businesses back up.

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