Environmental News Archive

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Rain Strain Again

Retaining wall collapses, two families evacuated

Dec 28 2006
Sheralyn Tay

TWO homes in Upper Serangoon Road became victims of the recent incessant
downpour when a three-metre-high retaining wall collapsed yesterday,
damaging a kitchen and forcing the evacuation of both families.

Calling it a "slope failure", the Building and Construction Authority
(BCA) put the mishap down to the prolonged rain of the last few weeks.
Water had pooled at the foot of a 40-metre slope behind the retaining
wall, weakening the slope.

This caused soil and vegetation to slide down onto the wall, which cracked
under the pressure, collapsed and hit the kitchen of 90, Jalan Girang,
damaging the ceiling and the store-room.

The unit's owner, Mr Chia Poh Cheng, said: "I had been hearing a lot of
creaking noises through the night. When I woke up this morning, the first
thing I saw was ... the wall had collapsed."

His family of four and their next-door neighbours were evacuated for
safety reasons. The Chias said they would spend the night at a hotel.

The BCA also advised the owners of a house across the road to engage a
professional engineer to assess structural stability of the retaining wall
near their home.

Works are underway to protect the slope with canvas. A berm, or raised
barrier, will be constructed in front of the wall to stabilise it.

Mr Seah Kian Peng, MP for Marine Parade GRC, said: "We will do what we can
to help the residents."

The BCA said that vulnerable sites are those with high, steep slopes and
slopes where poor drainage allows water to pool and weaken the ground.

The authority is monitoring the areas where slope failures have occurred,
and advises home-owners to be on the lookout for signs of slope failure.
If they spot any, they should stay away from the area and seek
professional advice.