'Waterfalls' raise ire at airport
2014-April-1 Source: Szdaily web edition
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A picture uploaded onto Sina Weibo by a netizen using the online name of Xiaolong Jacky on Sunday night shows water leaking from above in a parking garage at Shenzhen International Airport.

The intense downpours that have soaked the city since Sunday overflowed drainage systems at Shenzhen International Airport, where water flooded into underground parking garages and other areas on March 31.

The airport area in Bao’an District had recorded 284 millimeters of rainfall as of yesterday, the heaviest total from a local storm so far this year.

Airport authorities said yesterday that there were no problems with its internal water drainage system but acknowledged sporadic leaks inside the new terminal, which opened in November.

“We have found 168 leaky spots since heavy rain last December and have taken measures to prevent leaks,” airport spokespersons posted online. “This time, there are about 20 leaky spots and we will solve the problem after the rain stops.”

The statements came after photos circulating online showed water pouring from ceilings in scenes described by many travelers as “waterfalls” in different parts of the airport, including escalators, underground parking garages, walkways and access roads.

Some criticized the airport’s new terminal — the largest project in the city’s history and built at a cost of about 8.5 billion yuan (US$1.4 billion) — calling it a shoddy project with flawed design. Some passengers and netizens speculated about whether the leaks were a result of substandard construction practices.

The airport said on its official microblog Sunday evening that the leaks had been stopped, the water had been cleaned up and operations at all affected facilities had been resumed.

The rainstorms also caused cancellations or delays for hundreds of flights Sunday and yesterday, stranding up to 5,000 travelers in the airport.

CCTV reported that a number of stranded travelers clashed with airport staff during a protest Sunday, demanding compensation for the cancellations, water leaks and other problems. Photos taken by people in the new terminal showed travelers occupying the work stations of airport staff — some sitting or standing on top of desks — during the protest. One photo showed a smashed computer and other broken desk equipment, while another showed packaged in-flight meals strewn across a terminal floor.

Police at the terminal were able to ease the tension and no injuries were reported, CCTV said.

Editor: Olivia
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