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August 28, 2017

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Storm strikes just days after deadly typhoon hit cities

A powerful storm lashed Hong Kong and Macau yesterday, just days after a punishing typhoon swept through the region and claimed at least 23 lives.

Both cities raised a Typhoon 8 signal — the third-highest warning level — early in the day as severe tropical storm Pakhar made landfall as emergency workers were still battling to repair Wednesday’s damage.

A total of 206 flights were canceled 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 carrier, said “cancelations, diversions and severe delays” were expected.

All ferry services in Hong Kong were suspended.

A total of 236 trees weakened by the typhoon were brought down by the latest storm in the city and there were 16 reports of flooding.

No deaths were reported yesterday but hospital officials said 62 people were injured.

In Macau, eight people were slightly hurt, a government spokesman said.

Authorities there issued fresh flooding 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.

Water supplies have been restored, a Macau government statement said, 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.

Pakhar — named after a freshwater fish in the lower Mekong River — arrived as Macau was still picking up the pieces following Typhoon Hato, the city’s strongest typhoon in 53 years according to its government.

When Hato, which triggered the most severe Typhoon 10 warning, ripped through the gambling hub last Wednesday, it plunged casinos into darkness and causing destructive floods.

The official death toll in Macau reached 10.

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

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

On Macau’s request, the neighboring mainland province of Guangdong had sent 20 fire tankers and a batch of disaster relief materials, such as disinfecting devices, water pumps, generators and gloves.

Eight people are known to have died from Hato in Guangdong, which the latest storm had reached by mid-morning yesterday.

Pakhar landed in the coastal areas of the city of Taishan as a typhoon, the 14th typhoon of the year, around 9am but weakened into a severe tropical storm around an hour later, according to Guangdong meteorological authorities.

The provincial flood control headquarters said the cities of Shenzhen, Huizhou, Shanwei, Zhuhai, Zhongshan and Jiangmen had experienced rainstorms.

Zhuhai, where Hato also landed on Wednesday, had begun the temporary closure of local companies, government agencies, schools and public places on Saturday in preparation for the latest storm.

Workers were checking the city’s grid to ensure electricity supplies.

China’s National Meteorological Center said Pakhar was moving northwest and was due to enter the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region last night although it was losing strength.

The agency forecast that Guangdong, Fujian and Hainan provinces as well as Guangxi would see torrential rain until this afternoon.

According to China Southern Power Grid, a total of 9,000 emergency repairers, 97 emergency generator vehicles and 1,691 generators are in place in Guangxi in case of power failure.

Hainan maritime authorities suspended the service of roll-on/roll-off passenger ships and cross-sea trains running in and out of the province.

A total of 24,124 fishing boats have been put into harbor in the southern island province.

Ma Jianhua, an official with the Yangtze River flood control headquarters, said that Hato had brought about the obvious rising of water levels in the Yangtze.

The headquarters has dispatched personnel to Sichuan and Yunnan provinces to aid flood control.

In Yunnan, two more people have been found dead in disasters triggered by Hato, bringing the death toll in the province to five.


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