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Typhoon Mangkhut

Nearly 600 Hong Kong families still without electricity after power supply cut by Typhoon Mangkhut

One cluster in New Territories will go without power at least until Friday as repair works get under way

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 September, 2018, 10:11pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 September, 2018, 10:36pm

Nearly 600 Hong Kong families are still sweltering under the summer heat and facing dark nights without electricity after Typhoon Mangkhut on Sunday cut off power supply to areas.

As the city was pummelled by the monster storm, its most intense on record, about 40,000 households suffered power outages with violent wind and rain ripping lines and wreaking havoc on infrastructure. In the aftermath, power was restored to most homes, but some still did not have electricity.

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At Sheung Shui’s Tin Ping Estate in the New Territories, 384 families were still without power. They were told on Tuesday that a contractor would rectify the situation by Friday, or be fined HK$100,000 for each day of delay.

In remote areas such as outlying islets Kat O and Ap Chau, there were some 200 families still without electricity.

The power outage at Tin Ping Estate affected 16 floors – from the 11th to 26th – in Tin Cheung House after a blast from the meter room on the 15th floor was heard at about 5pm on Sunday.

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“I was sitting on the sofa when I heard a loud bang,” said Lee Sau-king, 61, whose flat was next to the meter room. “I was so scared that my hands kept trembling.”

While the block’s common areas and lifts were not affected, flats on the 16 floors encountered blackouts.

As her fridge was out of power, Lee had to throw away all the food she had stocked up for the typhoon. With the freezer not functioning, her stored dried seafood became soaked and she had to dry them outside the window when the storm passed.

Daily maximum temperatures rose back to 30 degrees Celsius after the typhoon, and nights became unbearably humid. “It’s too hot here. I can’t sleep at all,” Lee said.

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She has since moved to her daughter’s flat to spend the nights.

Lee’s neighbour on the 17th floor, Man Choi-hon, 68, said her two grandsons had moved to a hotel across the border for comfort. Although the building owners’ corporation handed out candles to Man on Monday, she did not use them for fear of triggering a fire.

She relied on light that came in from the streets and corridors at night.

 

To charge her mobile phone, Man went downstairs to district councillor Wong Wang-to’s office on the ground floor, where multiple charging ports were set up for residents.

Wong criticised the owners’ corporation for not informing residents of the blackout until early Tuesday, when it said a tender had been arranged to hire a contractor for repairs.

Tracy Tse Ka-yin, chairwoman of the owners’ corporation, said the decision for the tender was made because there was not enough time to call for a voting session among residents. Homeowners must be informed two weeks in advance if something is put to a vote, according to corporation rules.

Tse said although 384 households were affected, “more than 4,000 were not”. “If owners of the unaffected flats disagree [to a solution on repairs], should I wait and let the affected ones continue to suffer?”

Residents said they were sceptical over power being restored on Friday.