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Typhoon Mangkhut

Typhoon Mangkhut: 20,000 Macau households left without power after monster storm causes severe flooding in casino hub

Inner harbour area, Taipa and Coloane hit as black storm surge sees waters rise almost 2 metres

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 16 September, 2018, 7:48pm
UPDATED : Monday, 17 September, 2018, 11:06am

Twenty thousand households were left without power in Macau after Typhoon Mangkhut battered the city on Sunday.

Companhia de Electricidade de Macau (CEM), the casino hub’s electricity supplier, said it had cut off power in six low-lying areas to ensure public safety after much of the inner harbour area, Taipa and Coloane were flooded.

As it happened: Typhoon Mangkhut

The storm brought severe flooding to low-lying areas of the casino hub, forcing 1,280 citizens to flee to temporary shelters.

At 11pm, the Macau government put the number of injured people at 17. One person, aged 87, was in critical condition with a fractured hip after falling while six people had “medium level” injuries. Another 10 people had mild injuries. The city fared better than a year ago when 10 people were killed and hundreds hurt during Typhoon Hato.

There were also reports of 16 fires breaking out.

At 8pm, the city’s Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau downgraded the typhoon signal No 10, which was first issued at 11am, to No 8.

The electricity supplier said it had deployed floodgates and cut off power in six low-lying areas to ensure public safety.

“CEM will resume power supply as soon as the water level drops,” it said.

The storm also left about 7,000 homes without internet.

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Officials acknowledged that power cuts had been reported in multiple areas of the former Portuguese colony, adding that employees had been sent to confirm them.

Photos taken by the Post show whole city blocks in the inner harbour area in darkness at 6pm.

CEM said citizens should not be too worried, as the company would seek to restore power as soon as possible after the storm subsides.

Macau lawmaker José Pereira Coutinho said he had received multiple complaints regarding the power cuts.

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The company did not give enough information on which buildings were affected, Coutinho said, noting that power cuts had also happened in previous storms.

“They have failed in their mission to supply secure and stable electricity to Macau citizens,” he said.

Coutinho said that to permanently stop flooding in the inner harbour area, the government had to “move quickly” in setting up taller barriers at the seafront.

Mangkhut reached Macau on Sunday morning, and the bureau issued signal No 9 at 9am, before upping it to the top category two hours later.

The typhoon was 60km away from Macau at its closest point, and its peak paralysed land, marine and air traffic.

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The government said 191 flights to and from the city had been cancelled or delayed on Saturday and Sunday. Flights would gradually resume starting on Monday morning, it said.

A black storm surge warning was issued at 2pm on Sunday, meaning the bureau was expecting floodwaters to rise above 2.5 metres in some low-lying areas. However, the government said the flooding was at its most severe in the inner harbour area, where it reached 1.9 metres.

Serious flooding also occurred in areas near St Lawrence Parish and St Anthony’s Parish.

In the city’s inner harbour area, on the shores of northwestern Macau, flooding began as early as noon on Rua de Cinco de Outubro. Major flooding also occurred on main roads in the area, such as Rua do Visconde Paco de Arcos and Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro, where shopkeepers on Saturday installed floodgates and deployed other protective measures.

At the same time, divers and firefighters were seen navigating through the neighbourhood on inflatable boats.

On Sunday afternoon, the government announced classes at all schools would be suspended on Monday, whilst civil servants would also get a day off.

La Cite, a high-end residential building on Macau’s seafront, was spared any significant damage thus year.

Last year, a large number of windows were shattered during Hato, but only about ten windows were broken this time.

A number of concrete and glass structures on the platform of the building were also missing on Monday morning.

Meanwhile, before the storm unleashed its full force, small groups of tourists were seen braving the wind and rain.

At Senado Square, a popular attraction, one tourist from neighbouring Guangdong province said he and some friends arrived in Macau on Friday and were hoping to do some sightseeing before the weather became severe.

The 80-year-old said his group did not expect the storm to be so powerful.

“We didn’t think it would be so serious,” he said. “We are a little disappointed … We can’t even find an open restaurant.”

At the Ruins of St Paul’s, about five minutes’ walk from the square, a number of tourists were taking pictures despite the bad weather. Most were equipped only with basic rain gear.