Tue, Aug 10, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Kaohsiung gets that sinking feeling

By Jennifer Lee  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER

Underground work on the Shitzuwan station of Kaohsiung's MRT line caused subsidence that affected nearby buildings yesterday, causing them to sink by as much as one story. About 20 people fled their stores and homes as five three-story buildings on Linhai 2nd Road began to sink around 1:20pm. No one was hurt in the incident.

PHOTO: CHANG CHUNG-YI, TAIPEI TIMES

Some Kaohsiung residents had a narrow escape yesterday afternoon when the buildings housing their companies and homes dropped by a story due to subsidence caused by construction work on the Shitzuwan Station of the city's MRT line.

An area measuring 500m2 was affected by the subsidence, including five three-story buildings on Linhai 2nd Road in the Gu Shan District.

More than 20 people were evacuated from the buildings and no one was reported injured in the incident.

Residents said they had heard unusual noises before the ground fell.

One eyewitness told reporters that an old man had gone door to door telling resident to evacuate the buildings immediately.

The buildings continued to sink for about an hour and the sound of ceramic tiles falling off could be heard.

A cordon was put up around the affected area after the accident while gas, water, oil and electricity supplies were cut off.

The mishap began when a construction team was working on a continual wall 12m underground at Shitzuwan Station and there was a sudden surge of water and sand through the southern wall.

The affected area is near Shitzuwan beach.

Department of Rapid Transit Systems chief Chou Li-liang (周禮良) said he suspected the accident occurred because water pressure in the area was out of control, causing seawater to leak into the construction site.

MRT workers placed sandbags around the breach in an attempt to prevent further leakage and then poured in cement to try to fortify the site.

Displaced residents were later offered shelter in a nearby hotel.

Official said each of the affected families will be given NT$10,000 as compensation.

This was the fourth time construction work for the Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System has caused subsidence problems.

The last incident occurred on May 30 in the Yan Cheng District when nearby structures sank by about 20cm, affecting more than 100 people.

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