Clean-up begins in Macau after Typhoon Mangkhut, with no deaths reported in city
Some still without power in the casino hub, but officials credit better storm preparations for low number of injuries
Macau was making a speedy recovery from the effects of Super Typhoon Mangkhut on Monday, as local authorities announced no fatalities were reported during the stormy weekend.
Officials said only 40 people were hurt, compared to 10 deaths and more than 240 people injured last August during Typhoon Hato.
During an afternoon press conference to sum up the weekend, Macau’s secretary for security Wong Sio-chak attributed the reduced harm to better preparations.
“There are no deaths and a number of injuries, but the count is relatively smaller,” Wong said.
Officials said 5,650 residents from low-lying areas were evacuated and more than 1,300 were relocated to temporary shelters.
Officials announced on Monday that the typhoon signal No 10 resulting from Mangkhut was the longest since 1968. The signal lasted nine hours.
Macau’s chief executive Fernando Chui Sai-on was not present at the press conference.
Wong said the government was still assessing the economic loss brought on by Mangkhut, but said he expects it to be less than the 8.31 billion patacas of damage dealt by Hato.
The security chief also noted the suspension of gambling was not required by law, and it will need further legislation to formalise the arrangement.
“The government’s decision and cooperation from the gambling industry expressed... the mutual view that lives are more important,” Wong said.
The Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau cancelled the typhoon signal at 6pm on Monday, after all flood warnings were taken down the night before.
By noon, the Macau government said the city’s airport was fully functional, and that 170 inward and outward flights were scheduled on Sunday.
Bus services offered by two operators in Macau also resumed on Sunday morning, as did ferries to and from Hong Kong.
An unprecedented gambling suspension that was posted on Saturday was also lifted on Monday, as patrons streamed into various venues in “Asia’s Las Vegas”, such as Casino Lisboa.
Flooding, which the Macau government said was most serious in the inner harbour area, reaching 1.9m on Sunday evening, was gone by daybreak.
On Rua Cinco De Outubro, a low-lying street close to the seafront, residents were seen taking down anti-flood measures and assessing the damage on Monday.
Lee, who operates a shop, said she came back at 5am to clean up in the dark.
“My waist hurts after all the cleaning,” Lee said, adding that the power was still out on her street by 10am.
The 65 year-old said she was waiting for volunteers to help her move a fridge to a repair shop.
“Last time the fridge was broken, it is gone again now,” she said, adding it could cost thousands of patacas to fix it.
A restaurant owner, surnamed Wong and aged 58, said he had installed two electric pumps before the storm hit, in the hope of getting rid of the influx of water during any flooding. However, the power cut in the inner harbour area that started on Sunday evening rendered them useless.
“It has been more than 10 hours, there is still no electricity,” Wong said.
The power cut during Mangkhut affected 20,000 households in low-lying areas, whereas there was a citywide blackout during Hato that affected 250,000 homes. The power shortage last August lasted five days in Macau.
Some residents also complained about floodgates being ineffective against the water, saying the contraptions trapped water inside their shops, even after the flood subsided.
A platoon of civil servants from Macau’s Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau was seen aiding citizens in the neighbourhood, giving out bin bags and bottled water.
Leong Chi-fong, a civil servant, said the damage from Mangkhut seems to be significantly lower than after Hato.
Meanwhile, shops near tourists attractions, such as Senado Square, were already back in business by noon on Monday.
Shopkeepers at smaller establishments on Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro were seen clearing out muddy water and placing products back on shelves.
The head of Macau’s weather observatory, Tam Vai-man, said the maximum wind speed recorded during the weekend was 137 km per hour, compared to Hato’s 155.
The head explained that the power of Mangkhut was reduced after it hit the Philippines before arriving in Macau.
“To some extend, its impact on Macau was not as serious as Hato,” Tam said.