‘Nothing much to lose’: Macau residents unfazed by Pakhar after Hato’s devastating chaos
Retailers say they already suffered losses from previous storm and do not have much left to protect, while residents are resigned to damaged homes
Macau residents breathed a sigh of relief on Sunday after Severe Tropical Storm Pakhar swept past a city still grappling with the aftermath of a killer typhoon that struck just four days earlier.
But many shop owners said they had nothing much to lose after their belongings and products were destroyed by Typhoon Hato, which hit the casino hub on Wednesday and claimed 10 lives.
“The weather was not very bad this morning. It was a piece of cake compared to what we experienced earlier,” resident Kuok Fu said.
“I did not take any precautionary measures this time because [after Hato], almost all our belongings had to be thrown away,” the 55-year-old man said.
Pakhar caused no major floods or damage earlier on Sunday in three of the districts which were most affected by Hato.
But broken furniture and piles of rubbish were still scattered in the streets, as many residents cleaned their shops and tried to dry belongings. In some areas, dozens of sandbags were stacked in front of shops and homes as barricades against floods.
The authorities said that by 12.30pm – shortly before the typhoon signal No 8 was downgraded to No 3 – they had received 95 reports, including 16 involving flooding, 32 related to objects left hanging such as billboards and windows, and 10 related to uprooted trees, and downed wires.
A resident, who gave her name only as Chu, said when the No 8 signal was issued on Sunday morning, she was afraid of water levels rising again as the sewage system did not appear to be working properly.
“Fortunately, the rain stopped before it got bad,” she said.
The 65-year-old, who owns a toy and antiques shop in Inner Harbour, said she had not prepared for the later storm. “I was so busy cleaning and trying to save some of the items that I did not even know there was another typhoon coming,” she said.
“I saw some news reports about it yesterday afternoon, so I did not have time to prepare. But it didn’t matter. I had already lost about 80 per cent of my shop,” Chu added, showing hundreds of stamps and old books ruined during the typhoon.
Chu said her losses may add up to more than 200,000 patacas.
Down the same alley, Tam Kin-hong, 66, who runs one of the oldest handmade incense shops in Macau, was standing between damaged furniture and wet packages of incense.
“Almost all my products are gone. I might have lost between 150,000 and 160,000 patacas. I’ve never lost this much, and I did not even pay the suppliers,” he said.
Meanwhile, residents in Patane – another area badly hit by Hato – said they were still struggling with water shortages and lifts which did not work.
At residential building Classic Bay, where two people drowned in an underground car park when Hato struck, several residents complained about the poor conditions.
“I live on the 14th floor. My windows are shattered, the air conditioning unit outside almost fell, we have no water and the lifts do not work,” resident Yuet Ying said, noting that Pakhar did not affect the current situation much.
One of the building’s administrators, Lao Wai-kun, 60, said: “No one is bringing food or drinks here … In Fai Chi Kei, where I live, there are many volunteers bringing water and food, but it seems no one comes here.”
Raquel Carvalho is reporting from Macau