Lawmakers will investigate complaints of poor government flood-relief efforts in Tai O after residents filed a complaint to the Legislative Council yesterday. In a meeting with seven legislators including Lee Wing-tat, Lee Cheuk-yan and Tam Yiu-chung, 18 residents demanded the government set up a disaster relief fund and offer interest-free loans to households and businesses damaged by Typhoon Hagupit on September 22. Claiming to represent 600 victims, they criticised the Home Affairs Bureau and the Fire Department for what they claimed were tardy rescue efforts and half-baked repair grants. Lee Wing-tat said Legco would form a committee to investigate the claims. He said the ex-gratia payment of HK$2,000 given to selected households was not enough to cover losses and the government should devise a new disaster relief fund. 'It is also obvious that the existing warning system for storm-surge flooding is very bad,' Mr Lee said. Permanent measures were needed to alleviate the damage caused by heavy rainfall and flooding in low-lying regions, he added. Plans to build dykes along the coastline, previously rejected by environmental groups, were now being reconsidered by the government, he said. He also called for the government to ease restrictions for opening up the Lung Tin public housing estate in Tai O as a shelter. The Housing Department had refused to allow villagers to seek refuge at 50 empty flats during the early stages of the flood. The secretary of the Lantau Island Residents Association, Eric Kwok Ping, said the Home Affairs Bureau delayed responding to villagers' concerns until they complained to the Tai O rural committee and wrote to newspapers. 'Even now, they're only giving grants to the elderly. What about local businesses whose entire stock was ruined? We are very angry,' said Mr Kwok, who wants all affected households to be reimbursed. He also asked the Fire Department to organise more drills in Tai O villages. Firefighters were unfamiliar with the terrain, resulting in elderly people being trapped for more than two hours, he said. A department spokesman said it was normal for firefighters to be unfamiliar with far-flung areas. He recommended villagers co-operate with firefighters and meet them at the entrance of their villages. A Home Affairs Bureau spokeswoman said the government had already paid out more than HK$1.8 million for Tai O and that it did not offer compensation as a matter of policy. The Housing Department is considering the Lung Tin estate conversion, while the Drainage Services Department, Observatory and Island District Office are devising a flood warning system for Tai O.