Monday 19 February 2018

Macau investigates weather bureau after deadly Typhoon Hato

Debris left behind by Typhoon Hato in Macau (The Initium/AP)
Debris left behind by Typhoon Hato in Macau (The Initium/AP)

Macau's anti-corruption agency has launched an investigation into the Chinese casino hub's meteorological office after a typhoon struck last week, leaving 10 dead.

The corruption agency said in a statement that it was investigating the meteorology bureau's typhoon forecasting procedures and management, including former director Fong Soi-kun, who resigned after Typhoon Hato.

It said it had received numerous complaints and requests to investigate the weather bureau after the storm.

Officials said Hato was the strongest storm to hit Macau in 53 years. It lashed the city with heavy winds and rain that flooded large parts of the city, knocked out power and water supplies and left more than 240 people injured.

Casinos in Macau, the world's biggest gambling market, were forced to run on back-up generators.

Residents are angry that unlike nearby Hong Kong, which came through the storm largely unscathed, Macau forecasters did not raise the typhoon warning signals quickly enough, which would have given people more time to prepare.

Macau's Commission Against Corruption did not give further details of its investigation, but said it received similar complaints last year when a storm warning signal was not issued for Typhoon Nida.

In an unprecedented move, the city's Beijing-backed leader, Chui Sai-on, asked troops from China's People's Liberation Army, who normally do not leave their garrison, to help with clean-up efforts in the former Portuguese colony.

Macau is now a specially administered Chinese region that largely runs its own affairs.

The troops, along with clean-up crews and volunteers, collected 7,300 metric tons of rubbish left behind by the storm.

AP

Press Association

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