Wednesday, November 3, 2004


Cloning pioneer Ryuzo Yanagimachi took a break yesterday from cleaning up the Institute of Biogenesis Research's UH facility. Saturday's flood caused more than $2 million in damage to the institute's computers and labs, Yanagimachi said.

UH cancels classes
again today with many
buildings off the grid

University of Hawaii-Manoa officials canceled a second day of classes in the wake of the Halloween Eve flood that caused millions of dollars in damage, set back some academic research and cut power to nearly a third of the campus' buildings.

University of Hawaii UH officials said they canceled today's classes despite progress in repairing electrical power lines to campus buildings. Monday classes were canceled and the school was in recess yesterday due to the elections.

About 35 buildings remain without electricity or are being powered by generators, UH spokesman Jim Manke said. But he expects that electrical power will likely be restored by the weekend to all but four of the most damaged buildings.

Manke said it is too early to place a dollar figure on the damage to the UH campus. He said that much of the cost will be covered by insurance and federal and state emergency funds.

The university's Biomedical Sciences building and Hamilton Library appear to have taken the brunt of the damage.

The Biomed building's first floor suffered extensive water and mold damage as dozens of volunteers and researchers attempted to salvage research projects without the benefit of electricity.

Marla Berry, chairwoman of the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, said some of the overflow may have included raw sewage, making the building a potential health hazard.

Ryuzo Yanagimachi, the UH mouse-cloning pioneer, said the Institute for Biogenesis Research suffered at least $2 million in damage to its first-floor facilities in the Biomed building.

But he said that the institute also lost years of research, which was stored in computers and file cabinets.

Yanagimachi, who records most of his work on handwritten notes, said mud that rose several feet and soaked his file cabinets destroyed about half of his research notes.

"I was thinking about writing a book about my life work in reproductive biology," he said, "but I cannot write it anymore."

One institute researcher, cloning expert Yukiko Yamazaki, avoided serious injury Saturday night. Working late, Yamazaki was swept away by the flood in the institute's parking lot and could have drowned had she not grabbed a tree and yelled for help, said Istefo Moisyadi, research coordinator for the institute.

"As she held onto the tree, she saw her car floating by," Moisyadi said.

Hamilton Library's football field-size basement -- which houses the university's historical map collection, the library's computer system and its government documents section -- was deluged by an 8- to 12-foot-high wall of water Saturday night, reducing much of the area to rubble, said Jean Ehrhorn, associate university librarian.

Ehrhorn said more than 60 volunteers -- library staffers, friends and faculty members -- worked to save many of the library's older paper maps, which date to the pre-statehood era. The volunteers spent much of the past two days cleaning mud off of photos and other documents without the benefit of electrical power, she said.

The library's historic Hawaii-Pacific collection is located on the fifth floor and was not damaged by the flood, Ehrhorn said.

"It just makes me sick," said volunteer Everett Wingert, a UH geography professor. "So much of the collection can't be retrieved."

University of Hawaii


E-mail to City Desk


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2004 Honolulu Star-Bulletin -- http://archives.starbulletin.com