Hong Kong braces for tropical storm just days after Hato

Casey Dawson
August 27, 2017

In response to Typhoon Hato, a deadly storm that hit southern China earlier this week, Facebook has chose to activate its Safety Check feature to let users in the area inform their friends and family they're okay. The death toll from Hato stands at nine, with scores of people still missing.

Residents volunteered to pick debris off the streets alongside troops who were seen clearing away items ranging from computer equipment to gas cylinders.

The famous casinos of Macao were operating with generators because of power cuts or were closed.

Hato's fierce gales brought down trees, overturned trash cans and blew out windows on skyscrapers, raining shattered glass onto the streets below.

Hato, with destructive winds of more than 200kmh, was the worst storm since 1968 to hit Macau, causing nearly city-wide blackouts, flooding, disrupting water supplies, smashing scores of vehicles and damaging buildings.

Earlier, the government announced it would cancel a series of upcoming celebrations and events - including the Macao International Fireworks Display Contest in September - in the wake of the devastating typhoon to focus on disaster relief.

At the very least, HKO said Hong Kong will experience cloudy weather with showers and squally thunderstorms on Sunday and Monday, when Pakhar is expected to be closest to the city.

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"We are quite anxious about Pakhar", Macau resident Ana Chio said.

Amidst mounting public outrage at the government's handling of the storm, including the perceived failure to adequately warn residents as the storm approached, Macau's leader Chui apologised and said the head of the local observatory, Fong Soi-kun would step down.

"I'm not particularly concerned about my area because the situation here is better, but I'm very anxious about residents living in old buildings", Lei said.

The storm caused a power blackout across most of the gambling hub of Macau for about two hours, residents said, with disruption to mobile phone and internet networks.

Infrastructure, however, has mostly failed to keep pace with its development despite the rise of a wave of glitzy casino resorts. Wynn Macau fell almost 2 percent, and Melco International dropped 1.6 percent.

In Hong Kong, the authorities had declared a state of maximum alert, level 10, for only the third time since the handover to China of the former british colony in 1997.

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