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Hong Kong gov’t to review natural disaster plans after Typhoon Mangkhut

Hong Kong’s government will review its plan for natural disasters after Typhoon Mangkhut ripped through the city on Sunday, causing widespread damage.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam faced criticism after she refused to order a day off for employees on Monday. She explained that there was no way for the government to judge the legal consequences of doing so. Workers faced severe obstacles during their daily commute on Monday.

tai wai

Commuters at Tai Wai Station. Photo: HKFP/Jennifer Creery.

Security chief John Lee told reporters on Tuesday that the government had room to improve in terms of disaster relief. He said a cross-departmental meeting will be held as early as October to review prevention tactics and relief and emergency measures in the government’s Contingency Plan for Natural Disasters.

“We experienced a transport issue – especially under such a serious and damaging typhoon, after the typhoon signal was removed, we experienced a peak traffic period – we will study and make contingency plans on how to handle such situations,” Lee said.

Tai Wai

Commuters at Tai Wai Station. Photo: HKFP/Jennifer Creery.

“We will study the aspect of information dissemination to determine how we can use social media better, especially mobile phones, to send information to residents,” Lee added.

“We will review how the government’s internal coordination and communication could be better.”

John Lee

John Lee. File Photo: GovHK.

The absence of Secretary for Transport and Housing Frank Chan in the wake of the storm has raised eyebrows. The official has not appeared in public since last Wednesday, after he made an unscheduled visit to the West Kowloon terminus of the high-speed rail.

After the typhoon, Commissioner for Transport Mabel Chan – head of the Transport Department, which is under Chan’s bureau – met the press several times to speak on transport arrangements.

The Transport and Housing Bureau said that Frank Chan has not been on holiday for the past week. It added that Chan has been participating in internal meetings on the typhoon.

Frank Chan

Frank Chan. Photo: Citizen News.

John Lee said he understood that residents were forced to wait for hours for public transport on Monday as service was not yet fully resumed.

“They were confused and exhausted – we completely felt that and believed it was not an ideal situation,” Lee said. “Exactly because of that, we will look into how to deal with such new problems in the review.”

Buses damaged

柴灣道落斜疑似大樹倒下,劏開巴士頂,應有人受傷(未經證實)

Posted by Katck Kc on Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Meanwhile, there were several cases of buses being damaged by tree branches on Tuesday. In one case, part of the top of a double-decker bus was ripped off on Wan Chai Road.

bus tree branch

Photo: Apple Daily.

In another case, a tree branch punctured the windshield of Citybus no.118 from Siu Sai Wan to Cheung Sha Wan. The bus was driven back to the bus depot for maintenance.

bus tree branch

Photo: Facebook/hkincident.

Tree branches broke bus windows in three other cases in Fo Tan, Tsueng Kwan O and Kowloon City.

Hong Kong gov't to review natural disaster plans after Typhoon Mangkhut