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Typhoon Mangkhut

Moon-gazing this Mid-Autumn Festival in Hong Kong ruined by Typhoon Mangkhut as popular sites damaged by storm

Authorities say clearance and repair works still under way, but to make up for this, some parks have extended opening hours

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 September, 2018, 7:31pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 September, 2018, 7:59pm

Hong Kong’s moon lovers are among those reeling in the aftermath of Typhoon Mangkhut as popular spots around the city for gazing at the full moon this Mid-Autumn Festival have been damaged and left inaccessible.

All 41 of the city’s gazetted public beaches and a number of parks, playgrounds, promenades and barbecue sites were deemed “not suitable” for visits this year after heavy storm damage wrought by Mangkhut last week. The monster storm was the city’s most intense on record.

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Victoria Park, the biggest and one of the most popular sites for traditional Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations, will remain open but a Post visit to the park on Sunday found it remained strewn with fallen trees and storm debris. Many parts of the central lawn were still cordoned off.

“In the wake of the adverse impact brought about by Mangkhut, which has led to various levels of damage to facilities and trees at many venues, the department is making great efforts to conduct clearance and repair work,” the Leisure and Cultural Services Department said on Sunday.

“Members of the public are advised not to go near or enter the cordoned-off areas at these venues for the sake of safety.”

Members of the public are advised not to go near or enter the cordoned-off areas
Leisure and Cultural Services Department

Affected sites include the popular Repulse Bay and Shek O beaches in Southern district on Hong Kong Island, as well as Kowloon Walled City Park and storm-ravaged Siu Sai Wan Promenade.

Storm damage to sewage treatment facilities and pipes in parts of the city also mean several beaches in Sai Kung face deteriorating water quality.

For sites that remain open to the public, special arrangements have been made, such as extended opening hours. Closing times at the Hong Kong Velodrome Park in Sai Kung and the Jordan Valley Park will be extended by two hours to 1am on Tuesday. On Monday, Hong Kong Park will also stay open for an extra hour, closing only at midnight.

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The department reminded the public to keep places clean and not to burn wax, throw objects into trees, put lit candles on the ground or grass, or to fly sky lanterns.

Billy Wong, a father of two who was out with his family, lanterns in hand on Sunday at Victoria Park, said: “The lantern displays [put up at the park] are a bit disappointing this year ... but we’re so lucky that Victoria Park is still open.”

They were lounging on the park’s central lawn for a picnic, and soaking in the festivities of the Urban Mid-Autumn Lantern Carnival.

“We come here every year to gaze at the moon. If it’s closed we really don’t know where we’d go,” he said.

Fai Wong, another visitor at the park, said he felt the scores of fallen trees from the typhoon had put a dampener on the carnival atmosphere.

“It’s not too bad but it doesn’t feel perfect,” Wong, who lives near the park and visits it regularly with his family every Mid-Autumn Festival, said. “But what can you do? This typhoon was very serious. I think the arrangements are acceptable.”

Mid-Autumn Festival, which falls on the 15th day of the eighth month in the lunar calender, is the second-most important Chinese holiday after Lunar New Year.

Families and friends typically gather for meals, followed by moon-gazing at beaches or parks with candles and lanterns over mooncake and tea.