Typhoon Hato

Five dead, hotels facing two-day shutdown after Typhoon Hato knocks out power in Macau

Two hospitals received 153 injured people; power and water supply also under threat as floodwaters rise and people are stranded in car parks

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 August, 2017, 2:33pm
UPDATED : Friday, 25 August, 2017, 1:40am

Five people died, at least 153 were injured and two were still missing in Macau on Wednesday night, while the city also endured a power shutdown for several hours, after Typhoon Hato battered the former Portuguese enclave.

A 30-year-old man who was hit by a wall which collapsed in the strong winds and a 62-year-old man who fell from his home on the 11th floor of an apartment building were among the dead.

Separately, a 45-year-old mainland Chinese tourist was killed in a hit-and-run incident, according to the Macau government.

Another man, 48, and a woman, 44, drowned after water flooded the basement of a shop.

Four people went missing in Fai Chi Kei, on the Macau peninsula, in the morning. Two of them were later rescued.

By 6pm, two hospitals in Macau had received 153 injured people in need of treatment, as the city was hit by its first typhoon warranting a No 10 signal – the highest in Macau’s storm warning system – in 18 years.

According to the government, most of injuries were caused by cuts from glass shards, while others involved fractures and eye wounds. No one was in a serious condition.

The power was out in the casino hub from noon with supply slowly being restored during the afternoon, affecting thousands of local families and tourists. Several luxury hotels told the Post they had stopped checking in guests and would not take any reservations until further notice because they had run out of backup power.

Local news reports blamed the power cut on an extensive shutdown in the neighbouring city of Zhuhai. Some 82 per cent of Macau’s power in 2016 was imported from mainland China.

“Everybody in Macau was terrified by the really strong winds and the inefficiency of the officials,” Macau resident Lucia Lemos, 62, said, adding that her building had shaken for about 30 minutes in the winds. She said her flat, near the central area of Macau, did not have electricity for about five hours and that it had only been restored at about 5.30pm.

Typhoon Hato causes delayed flights and heavy flooding in Hong Kong

“It was the strongest and the scariest typhoon I have experienced in Macau. I’ve never seen anything like this,” Lemos, who has lived there for 35 years, said.

Flights were cancelled for most of the day and the border with mainland China was closed for several hours. The water supply and telecommunications services, including broadband services, were also affected in some parts of the city.

As of 5.50pm on Wednesday, 207 incidents had been reported to the government, including cases of floods, torn down billboards and uprooted trees.

A Macau resident told the Post that the water in the Inner Harbour of the Macau peninsula, which has traditionally been one of the areas most affected by floods, had risen by more than a metre.

Another local resident, Luisa Lei Sio Fong, said: “The typhoon has had quite a large impact on Macau. A lot of trees were uprooted … and because of the blackout, we can only rely on information from the internet.”

Lei said power resumed at about 2.25pm in her neighbourhood, in the northwestern residential district on the Macau peninsula, but the blackout continued in most other areas.

Tourists were advised to stay in their hotels due to safety concerns.

A Wynn Hotel Macau member of staff said: “All our systems broke down. We do not have electricity and water.”

A front desk employee from Galaxy Hotel said the hotel could not check in guests who had reserved rooms for Wednesday or Thursday.

“We’ve advised our [earlier] guests to stay in the rooms.We will make further arrangements for the loss of customers when the situation gets better,” she said.

A spokeswoman for the Mandarin Oriental Macau said the hotel was “extending stays for all guests and advising all to stay indoors for their safety.” She said the hotel would not be able to accept new bookings due to the power outage.

A Post reporter tried to reserve a room at the Four Seasons Hotel but was told the hotel was full.

“Due to the blackout of power and [lack of] water supply, we cannot run the restaurants and casino,” a member of staff said. “We’re not sure when we can reopen. We are not accepting reservations at the moment.”

The typhoon warning signal in Macau was downgraded to No 3 at 6.30pm on Wednesday.

By about 8pm, resident Luisa Lei said some buildings in her neighborhood were still without electricity, as were other parts of Macau.

The government and power companies did not say when the power supply would resume.

Commissioner of Macau’s Fire Services Leong Iok-sam, who is also the chief of the Civil Protection Operations Centre, said on Wednesday night that there were reports of people stranded in the flooded car parks of residential buildings Grandeur Heights, Classic Bay and Rua de João de Araújo – all in Patane, on the northern part of the Macau peninsula.

In Grandeur Heights alone, a dozen people were reportedly trapped.

Rescuers have launched searches.