There were plenty of delays on public transport this morning as Hongkongers headed back to work in the wake of one of the most ferocious typhoon in decades, which battered the city yesterday, leaving buildings and infrastructure damaged, hundreds of trees felled, and a huge clean-up ahead.
The Hong Kong Observatory lowered the storm signal to T3 at 5:20am this morning from T8. For about 10 hours yesterday, the highest signal, T10, was in effect as severe typhoon Mangkhut brought wind gusts of over 200 kilometers per hour, lashing rain and rising flood waters.
Senior scientific officer Lee Shuk-ming said although the storm signal has been lowered to a T3, the public should take precautions.
“In fact, Mangkhut is a very destructive tropical cyclone inducing record-breaking storm surge to Hong Kong,” she said.
“Although local winds have subsided, Mangkhut has already brought different degrees of damages to various parts of Hong Kong, and there are hidden dangers around.”
According to RTHK, 362 people were injured during yesterday’s storm.
There were also severe delays on public transport, with the city’s four major bus companies announcing the suspension of some services, and the MTR announcing that service has been disrupted on the East Rail Line due to overhead line damage and fallen trees.
— Rachel Blundy (@rachelblundy) September 17, 2018
RTHK also reported that a number of ferry companies have announced that services have resumed, but warned commuters that there may be some delays.
The Education Bureau announced yesterday that schools will be closed today, but working Hongkongers faced long delays on public transport as they tried to get into work.
— Dave Coulson (@cheesindave) September 16, 2018
One frustrated commuter called Hung Lai Hang posted on Facebook that he was on his way to work via Tai Kei Leng in Yuen Long at around 7am this morning, but had to turn around because a tree was blocking the way. As at 9pm yesterday, the 1823 Government Call Centre has received 262 reports of fallen trees.
RTHK reports that there will be a limited service on the East Rail Line and the Light Rail Line, with trains leaving every 10 minutes from Hung Hom to Sha Tin, and every 22 minutes from Sha Tin to Tai Po Market, every 15 minutes from Sheung Shui to Lok Ma Chai, and every 10 minutes from Sheung Shui to Lo Wu and Tai Po Market.
— Will Hayward (@willhayward_nz) September 17, 2018
Social media was flooded with photos of people’s commute, from trees blocking the roads in Yuen Long to photos of hundreds of people crowded onto the concourse and platform at Tai Wai station.
— Galileo Cheng (@galileocheng) September 17, 2018
RTHK also reported that the Airport Authority cancelled 889 flights on Sunday, and warned passengers that it would take up to two days to clear the backlog of flights.
Housing estates were also ravaged by the storm, and the damage was notable in Heng Fa Chuen in Chai Wan, were Facebook user Charmaine Chan posted photographs of debris, including a large concrete block, around the estate.
And it wasn’t just office buildings and homes that were destroyed in the aftermath, but cultural landmarks too, like a flight of stone steps on Ice House Street in Central that was famously featured in the music video for Anita Mui’s Dream Partner.
News of the ruined flight of stairs upset many fans of the 80s Cantopop icon, who died from cervical cancer in December 2003.
In a statement this morning, the Labour Department (LD) called on employers to have consideration and flexibility for employers who are unable to resume work on time due to the difficult road and traffic conditions.
“As typhoons and rainstorms are natural occurrences that cannot be avoided, employers should not deduct wages or allowances of employees who are absent from or late for work because of inclement weather and traffic condition. Neither should employers dismiss an employee summarily based on these grounds,” an LD spokesman said.
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