Typhoon Hato ravages Macau, worst storm since 1968

by Antonio Miles August 26, 2017, 1:19
Typhoon Hato ravages Macau, worst storm since 1968

Around 48 hours after Severe Typhoon Hato smashed into southern China, worst-hit Macau was still picking up the pieces, with the enclave's government facing recriminations over its lack of preparation.

"The garrison of the PLA Macao has joined the government and the public of Macao in its efforts, assistance for post-typhoon and for the reconstruction", the government said Friday in a press release.

Video footage sent by Macau residents to Reuters showed a man struggling to keep his head above water in an enclosed vehicle park filled with debris, a truck toppling over and pedestrians flung across pavements.

Chinese troops are rarely seen on Macau streets.

The authorities have said that a thousand soldiers had been mobilized Friday morning. A further eight people are known to have died in the neighbouring Chinese province of Guangdong. "Each addition to the death toll is absolutely demoralising to the citizens of Macau", he said. "These two days, we have faced an extremely hard test together".

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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.

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. Casinos, which brought in more than $28 billion in 2016 - over half of Macau's GDP - were among the casualties of the storm, and reporters who got inside the Wynn Macau found switched off slot machines and no air conditioning.

Hong Kong's weather observatory said there were indications of another storm brewing close to the Philippines which could hit southern China early next week.

More than 120 people were injured, but the city has not suffered any death, which owed much to the prudent, the degree of planning and the long experience of authorities in the matter.

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