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December 17, 2010

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Residents fear home collapse

THE snow started to melt yesterday morning, but new problems are just beginning for residents in a community in Pudong New Area's Gaohang Town, who found water flowing into their bedrooms via cracks in their buildings.

A total of five buildings, located on both sides of the town's Zhaojia River, have started to tilt, leaving cracks in the walls and rooftops of the residential buildings, after a government-supported waterway renovation began on the river banks in 2007.

At one point, more than 600 residents were living in those buildings, but about 28 householders have since moved out of their homes or sold them to other people at knockdown prices, for fear that the subsiding buildings might collapse.

A resident, surnamed Zhou, told Shanghai Daily that even gas pipes have broken as the buildings tilted, with gas leaking into the air.

"Fortunately some elderly residents discovered the problem when they were taking a walk outside and it was fixed immediately," said Zhou.

Residents blame the nearby waterway renovation project for causing the damage to their buildings - the site is 10 meters away from their buildings, whereas the recommended distance is ruled to be 15 to 20 meters.

They believe the construction site is too close to their buildings and has caused the structures to tilt.

The construction was once halted after residents protested, but restarted at the beginning of October because the project is scheduled to be completed this year, said the residents.


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