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Prefecture response to flooding cause angers Kokusai residents

Date Posted: 2008-02-07

Calling Okinawa Prefecture “too irresponsible”, more than 150 disgruntled Kokusai Street shop owners turned out Monday to level blame for last year’s flooding that decimated their homes and businesses in downtown Naha City.

The Asato River flooded last August 11th, sending a wave of water down Kokusai Street and into buildings, and area residents charge it was a man-made disaster caused by construction over the river. Businesses have been demanding compensation for their flood losses, and didn’t like Prefecture answers during a Town Hall Meeting Monday at Tsuboya Elementary School.

“We investigated this flood very carefully,” Prefecture engineering staff told residents, “using an analytical geometry examination committee comprised of specialists to study the Asato River. The results show it was a natural disaster as the river overflowed its banks.” The engineers said “The prefecture doesn’t have to pay any compensation.”

Angry attendees rebuffed the Prefecture claims, which were bolstered by engineers’ photographs and computer simulations that “even before construction of the bridge, or after construction, the overflow happened because the rain was simply much too heavy.” One irate business owner told engineers “I’ve seen this river for 60 years, and this kind of flooding has never happened before, even during this type of heavy rain. There was no construction work before.”

Engineers contend that “even if there had been no construction, the flood would have occurred. We hope residents will understand.” Residents and businesses don’t. “These results are simply wrong,” one declared, while others were vocal in letting Prefecture officials know “you’re simply wrong.”

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