Security chief gives full marks on post-Typhoon recovery works

Secretary for Security Wong Sio Chak (center)

Secretary for Security Wong Sio Chak said yesterday that works being performed by the authorities in order to recover from the destruction of Typhoon Hato are “very positive,” praising the efforts of the security forces, People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Macau Garrison soldiers, volunteer groups and society in general.

The acknowledgement was made yesterday afternoon at a press conference held at the headquarters of the Civil Protection Operations Center (COPC), which drew senior officials from several government departments and security forces involved in the operation.

In the assessment, Wong noted the loss of many lives as well as the economic damage of the typhoon but said, “The population is united and helping the security forces. Everyone is engaged – the population, volunteer groups and the PLA – to perform tasks of cleaning and providing aid such as meals and water [to the needed].”

“The typhoon was a big disaster but fortunately we have love in society,” the security chief said while noting the “very positive response” and outcome.

Wong also mentioned that, as was agreed in a meeting held earlier with the chief executive, “we will perform an in-depth review of all our procedures [after the city is back to normal],” promising changes in efficiency and response times.

Asked for an estimate of the economic impact of the typhoon, Wong said, “We are still at the cleaning stage. We haven’t yet made any calculation of the economic losses but, as everyone can tell, we are to believe that they won’t be little.”

He added that the priority for the time being is to “bring back the city back to normality.”

Wong said that normality might return as soon as today.

“We are in contact [with all authorities] to see how we can accelerate the process. We are doing all the possible. We hope by [today] we can have more significant improvements and we can be generally back to normality.”

In the evaluation made by the authorities, which also included the most recent passage of Typhoon Pakhar, it was noted that there are at the present time no additional victims to add to the report. Commissioner-general of the Unitary Police Service (SPU) Ma Io Kun informed that, as of 2 p.m. yesterday, a total of 107 incidents resulting in eight non-serious injuries had been caused by the latest tropical cyclone.

Ma said that most of the incidents were the result of falling objects, in some cases, connected to prior damage inflicted by Typhoon Hato.

Public Security Police Force (PSP) head Leong Man Cheong noted that the officers under his purview have been performing “relentless work” and that, according to the latest information, “90 percent of the streets have already conditions for the circulation of people and vehicles,” noting also that the Lotus bridge border cross-point had reopened at 1 p.m. yesterday after the lowering of the Signal 8 for Typhoon Pakhar.

Works on the debris and wreckage clearance restarted yesterday at 2 p.m., according to Leong, involving both frontline and standby staff. According to the PSP chief, currently the most challenging areas are Fai Chi Kei, Patane and Praia do Manduco, where there is “still a lot to clean and large objects are creating difficulties on the job.”

He noted that previous appeals to the population not to discard items on the street had not garnered a very positive response.

Regarding the most critical damage inflicted by the latest typhoon to strike Macau, Leong highlighted the cases of the Sai Van Bridge and the Bus Terminus at the Border Gate, which was flooded.

According to Fire Services Commander, were registered 91 calls for help today and three people with non-serious injuries were assisted.

Pakhar’s intensity as forecasted

Typhoon Pakhar presented an intensity as initially forecasted of around 106km/h, the Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau (SMG) new acting director said in press conference, noting the final path took it “closer to Macau than expected [about 40km away] and with a faster progression,” she said. The acting director informed that the typhoon made landfall at 9 a.m., one hour earlier than initially expected. Pakhar recorded an average wind speed of 88km/h with gusts that reached 125.3km/h and 56.6mm of rainfall, considered to be “higher than normal.” In consequence, the water level rose about 1.5 meters, but since it happened at a time that did not coincide with the high tides, it caused “no severe flooding.”

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