Hawaii dam bursts,7 people missing

A dam on the the Hawaiian island of Kauai failed Tuesday, releasing a torrent water that swept away several homes, and cut off access for thousands of rural residents.

BY SUSAN KIM | BALTIMORE | March 14, 2006


A dam on the the Hawaiian island of Kauai failed Tuesday, releasing a torrent water that swept away several homes, and cut off access for thousands of rural residents.

Seven people are missing, according to reports from the Coast Guard. Helicopters were on the scene looking for survivors. One person has been rescued, according to Hawaii State Civil Defense and local authorities. Most of the rushing water hit sparsely populated areas.

Two schools were opened as emergency shelters. Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle has declared a state disaster. State officials were assessing the safety of other earthen dams in the area. Nearly all of Hawaii's dams were built before federal standards even existed.

Officials are estimating at least 300 million gallons of water were released when a section of the Ka Loko Reservoir dam - about 40 feet high and 1,800 feet long - collapsed. Officials are concerned that the Morita dam, in the same area, will weaken as well. Residents in the area remain evacuated.

The dam failure occurred after six inches of heavy rain fell in less than 24 hours, and residents received no warning when the reservoir behind the dam burst through the earthen barrier, carrying debris at least three miles from the scene.


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