Mangkhut | Gov’t preventive measures pay off during typhoon stronger than Hato

The SAR government undertook several preventive measures in response to this year’s typhoon Mangkhut to avoid casualties similar to the scale seen during typhoon Hato last year. Government authorities yesterday said that they were satisfied with the response of civil protection teams and that pre-disaster preparation had been improved.

On Saturday, a red storm surge warning was issued at 9 p.m. in the form of an alarm warning residents, particularly in low-lying areas, to evacuate to the 16 government-run shelters.

According to official data, a total of 5,650 people living in low-lying areas were evacuated, while the 16 centers accommodated 1,343 residents.

The Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau (SMG) hoisted signal No. 8 on Sunday at 2 a.m., and raised it to signal No. 9 followed by No.10 at 11 a.m.

“It’s the longest hoisting of T10 since 1968. T10 was hoisted for nine hours before Mangkhut arrived. Its wind speed was 173 km/h near the center, stronger than Hato which was 165 km/h,” said a spokesperson from the SMG yesterday at a press conference.

“It was closest to Macau at 4 p.m. yesterday, about 60 km away from Macau, whereas Hato was 40 km away. Hato’s highest water level was 6.2 meters, while Mangkhut was at 5.58 meters,” the official added.

During the hours of adverse weather on Sunday, the period from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. saw floodwaters reach about 1.9 meters in height in some areas of Macau.

Secretary for Security Wong Sio Chak expressed hopes that in the future, residents will voluntarily evacuate once warnings have been issued.

“We hope that evacuation will be voluntarily in order to ensure people’s safety and under special conditions, mandatory evacuation is needed,” he said.

Wong was pleased with the efforts of the Civil Protection Action Center, noting that residents’ civil protection awareness has increased through the conduct of pre-disaster preparation.

“Under the government’s coordination, six gaming operators’ parking lots and government parking lots were prepared, and many temporary parking spaces were arranged,” said Wong.

The government had also required casinos to suspend operations, which occurred for the first time along with the closure of the border gate.

“The government prepared a large amount of information and released it in a timely fashion, and made effective clarification,” he noted.

The Times received reports that by around 2 p.m. on Sunday, some households in the Inner Harbor area had lost electricity. CEM reported that over 20,000 households lost power.

Emergency repairs to certain power transformer stations located at the street level in low-lying areas were carried out when the floodwaters receded.

Public services and schools – with the exception of the civil protection system – were suspended yesterday.

The Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau plans to set up refuse collection points in 45 locations in low-lying areas. All of these collection points were operational from 7.30 a.m. yesterday.

Yesterday morning, the Transport Bureau (DSAT) fixed five traffic light systems which were damaged by the typhoon. As of 3 p.m., there were still 15 traffic light systems being fixed, representing approximately 10 percent of the city’s traffic light systems.

Compared to last year when 200 buses were damaged by typhoon Hato, no buses were damaged this year by typhoon Mangkhut.

The Director of Maritime and Water Affairs Bureau, Susana Wong Soi Man, reported that her department will improve the drainage pump system in the Inner Harbor area to improve the flood drainage. Wong remarked that the water supply operated normally during the typhoon. However, problems occurred in buildings that were affected by power cuts in the electricity network. In total, 21 buildings did not have water supply during the typhoon. Fifteen of them had their water supply resumed as of 3 p.m. yesterday.

“Regarding rumors, there were several different rumors being spread. Investigations of these rumors are still being carried out, and we hope to announce the results to the residents as soon as possible,” said Wong Sio Chak, Secretary for Security.

Wong said that, “this time, the liberation army need not be bothered with cleaning up the trash.”

Ma Io Kun, Unitary Police Service (SPU) Commissioner-General, informed that the “Taishan nuclear power station issued an alert according to the country’s standards. There were no reports of any incidents or problems whatsoever.”

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