Sasebo storm damage tops $1 million
Stars and Stripes October 29, 2004
SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — Personnel here dealing with finances estimate Typhoon Tokage’s rampage last week will drain more than $1 million from the base’s wallet, which already was looking rather lean.
Workers continued this week repairing rooftops, disposing of debris, repositioning angled topiary into original upright positions and returning salvageable awnings and pavilions to functional conditions, according to Charles T. Howard, base spokesman.
“At this point, the estimated damages are $1.24 million,” he said Monday. That dollar figure continues to evolve, and depends on the extent to which some structures prove to be damaged, he said.
Dozens of small structural damages occurred Oct. 20 from Tokage’s wind gusts, base officials said. One gust recorded in Sasebo city measured about 95 knots, or about 109 mph, according to the Nagasaki Prefecture Meteorological Agency.
Even after being downgraded to a tropical storm early in the afternoon on the 20th, Tokage still was merciless in southern Japan, killing at least 63 people.
No one in the Sasebo Naval Base community was injured or killed, Howard said.
“The funding for this will come from the CFAS (Sasebo Naval Base’s shore command) Maintenance Fund, but of course $1.24 million is a little bit more than anyone expected a small base like this to need,” said Lt. Cmdr. Bret Blanton, officer-in-charge of Sasebo’s Public Works Department.
Absent such disasters, the fund usually covers on-base maintenance. Also factoring in repairs to damage sustained last week, Blanton said, means both workload and scheduling will have to be prioritized. For instance, someone expecting a repainted office in a few weeks may wait longer because of prioritized repairs, such as a fixing a severely damaged roof.
“If there is no other no major structural damage discovered that could entail major construction, we estimate the repairs will take a couple of months,” he said. “But we won’t disregard maintenance that has been planned; we will still get to it.”
An amount is allocated each month from the maintenance fund to cover the costs of various upgrades, repairs and new projects. Following the typhoon and resulting damage, if the monthly allocation falls short, Blanton said, Commander U.S. Naval Forces Japan will assist in “covering the difference.”
Three damage locations figure heaviest in the estimate of funds needed for repairs, officials said.
“The worst would be the roof section that blew off Building 138, an old warehouse over by the India Basin pier, near where the (USS) Fort McHenry is berthed,” Blanton said.
The second spot with heavy damage is the roof of Sasebo’s detachment of Commander, U.S. Forces Japan Regional Fire Department on the main base facility. Gust by gust, the wind peeled the roof off the fire department and rolled it up like a jelly roll.
The third site, one that could cost the base up to $250,000 to repair, Blanton said, is at Yokose Fuel Terminal. In this case, the wind and heavy, crashing waves broke apart, cracked and further deteriorated areas along the seawall that must be fixed.
“We’ll just have to prioritize and start repairing these damages, and hopefully, another one won’t come anytime soon,” he added.