Storm drains investigated after Hong Kong beaches washed away

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 May, 2014, 11:20am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 14 May, 2014, 6:13pm

Hong Kong’s beach authorities today vowed to investigate storm drainage systems after raging waters triggered by recent thunderstorms carved off large slices of beach in Shek O and Lamma Island.

Sand was washed away in the western part of Shek O beach and the northeast part of Hung Shing Yeh beach on Lamma. Trees’ roots were exposed and picnic tables were overturned by the heavy currents at Hung Shing Yeh as rains lashed the city for days.

The Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) told the South China Morning Post that sand erosion was found in other beaches after “the large amount of rain water overflowed from the water storms drains” lining the coast.

The drains collect water from the forests and hinterlands nearby.

The recent damage has prompted the authority to seek a review of the “discharging capacity” of the storm drains as well as other long-term measures, which it did not specify.

It also pledged to do repairs on the shoreline.

“[We] will level the affected area with sand from within the beaches as far as possible,” the LCSD said, adding that much of the lost sand would be naturally and gradually replenished by tides and currents.

“If need be, remedial replenishment can be carried out,” the department said.

The washed-away parts of beaches “are now cordoned off for public safety”.

A black rainstorm first hit Hong Kong last Thursday and bad weather continued until late on Monday, flooding farmlands and roads, and triggering landslides. The deluge brought by a trough of low pressure in south China also hit neighbouring Shenzhen, crippling transport and bringing knee-deep floods.

Lamma and Hong Kong Island were among the worst-hit by the torrents. These and Lantau Island, Cheung Chau and the northeast New Territories saw 300-400mm of rainfall in just 24 hours ending on Monday morning.

The rains washing down the hillsides have sometimes brought with it unwelcome visitors, such as a Burmese python that ended up on the Quarry Bay promenade. The snake, which is non-venomous but locks onto its prey, bit its handler as it was being taken away to a police station and then a wildlife preserve.

The weather has gradually improved starting today, with intermittent sunshine expected in the next seven days, according to the Hong Kong Observatory.