Ford blames flooding on illegal landfills

A SPECIAL Government task force will be set up this week to investigate illegal landfills in the New Territories after the Acting Governor Sir David Ford yesterday blamed the flooding on excavation work.

''Flooding in the New Territories had become a problem more recently, very largely because there had been so much illegal excavation and preparation of sites going on there,'' Sir David said.

Secretary for Works James Blake said government engineers would examine the area to find out why water drainage in Tuen Mun was blocked leaving hundreds of thousands of residents without water for the next four days. Yesterday Tuen Mun residents armed with buckets, basins, kettles and pots queued for hours to get water, after torrential rain and floods knocked out water supplies.

Water tankers at 51 collection points in the area were being replaced every hour and the Director of the Water Supplies Department, Hu Man-shiu, warned desperate residents they could be prosecuted if they siphoned water from fire hydrants.

The majority of the 430,000 residents in Tuen Mun will have to wait until Thursday before pumping stations damaged in the floods are fully operational again.

There was some temporary relief last night for more than 150,000 residents living in the east of Tuen Mun. Water supply resumed for two hours last night, and would be turned on from six to eight every evening until Thursday.


Bottled water was cleared from supermarket shelves within three hours of the water supply drying up as residents stocked up.

People queueing for water were furious at the long wait and messy task of filling up containers from hose pipes and taps.

Housewife Mrs Lai, who was in the queue with her three-year-old daughter, said: ''I have to bathe my baby and make dinner for her. But the water I have queued hours for is only enough for some of the family. I have to go time and again for water, it's just hectic.'' Meanwhile, in Lantau, police confirmed a body found yesterday at Pui O beach was that of taxi driver Wong Tun, 60, who disappeared in torrential rain.

In Cheung Chau, 20,000 residents had to rely on water brought in by ship yesterday and they, too, queued up for water at the ferry pier.


Supply is expected to be restored today.