x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 25 November 2017

Still recovering from a typhoon, Hong Kong and Macau hit by tropical cyclone Pakhar

The second storm made landfall in the two cities on Sunday, causing flight chaos as hundreds of planes were grounded or diverted

 

 

Tropical storm Pakhar brought strong winds and heavy rain to Hong Kong and Macau on Sunday, just four days after Typhoon Hato caused serious flooding and damage, killing at least 18 people in the territories.

Both cities raised the alert to Signal 8 - the third-highest weather warning - early on Sunday morning as Pakhar made landfall in the region, where emergency workers were still battling to repair Wednesday's damage.

By early afternoon, the cyclone weakened and both cities lowered the warning to Signal 3 as Pakhar brushed passed and landed in the southern Chinese city of Taishan.

A total of 206 flights were cancelled and another 471 delayed because of the latest storm, while 44 flights had to divert, Hong Kong's Airport Authority said. Cathay Pacific, the city's flagship, said "cancellations, diversions and severe delays" were expected.

All ferry services in Hong Kong were suspended until the storm warning was lowered in both cities in the early afternoon.

No deaths were reported on Sunday but Hong Kong hospital officials said 62 people were injured. In Macau, eight people were slightly hurt, a government spokesperson said. A Chinese cargo ship was sinking east of Hong Kong Sunday morning but all 11 crew members were rescued.

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Read more:

Death toll rises after Typhoon Hato batters south China

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Packing winds of up to 130 kilometres per hour, Pakhar — named after a freshwater fish in the lower Mekong river — smashed into southern China as worst-hit Macau was still picking up the pieces after Typhoon Hato.

Sunday is the weekend in Hong Kong but on a working day the Typhoon 8 signal would have meant the shutdown of the stock market, schools and businesses.

In Macau, authorities issued fresh flood warnings as shops that were battered on Wednesday remained closed. Traffic lights stayed blacked out with power yet to return to parts of the city.

The water supply has been restored, the Macau government said on Sunday, but buildings with damaged pumps still lack water.

"This is tough but there is nothing we can do," said shop owner Leung Chin-pang, who has been without water since the first storm hit.

Typhoon Hato — the city's strongest typhoon in 53 years according to its government - ripped through the gambling hub on Wednesday, plunging casinos into darkness and causing destructive floods.

The official death toll in Macau reached 10, as the enclave's government faces recriminations over its lack of preparation.

Another eight people are known to have died from Typhoon Hato in the neighbouring Chinese mainland province of Guangdong, which Pakhar also reached mid-morning Sunday.

Hong Kong and Macau both raised the most severe Typhoon 10 warning last week, only the third time a storm of this power had pounded Hong Kong in the past 20 years.

In Macau, it was the strongest typhoon in 53 years, according to the city government.

Dozens of visitors had returned to the main tourist attraction of Senado Square in Macau by Sunday as the clean-up progressed.

Streets appeared cleaner after local residents of all ages and around 1,000 troops from the Chinese People's Liberation Army Macau garrison worked to clear piles of debris blocking the streets.

Summer is typhoon season for the region including Hong Kong, which can experience storms of such severity that the entire city shuts down.