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Macau government spends 3.5 million patacas on 16 emergency shelters

The government said Thursday that it has spent 3.5 million patacas (US$ 437 thousand) on setting-up the city’s 16 evacuation shelters and four emergency assembly and pick-up points, as well as for preparations to ensure that the shelters are ready for operation in the case of a storm surge during a typhoon.

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UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:46 am

The government said Thursday that it has spent 3.5 million patacas (US$ 437 thousand) on setting-up the city’s 16 evacuation shelters and four emergency assembly and pick-up points, as well as for preparations to ensure that the shelters are ready for operation in the case of a storm surge during a typhoon.

Officials from several government entities briefed media on what the government has done to ensure that the emergency shelters and emergency assembly and pick-up points are ready for operation. The briefing took place at the Tap Seac Multisport Pavilion – one of the 16 emergency shelters.

The government first announced in April that it had drafted a plan for residents to evacuate when a storm surge hits their neighbourhoods.

The evacuation plan aims to help residents and business owners in the city’s low-lying areas to evacuate to shelters designated by the government when a storm surge hits Macau. According to the evacuation plan, the government has designated 16 locations as emergency shelters for when a storm surge hits the city. The 16 shelters include schools and sports facilities, nine on the peninsula, three in Taipa and four in Coloane.

According to the evacuation plan, in addition to the 16 shelters, the government has also designated four locations as emergency assembly and pick-up points in and near high-risk flooding areas, for residents living in nearby areas affected by floods as well as for the elderly, infirm and disabled. During an evacuation, the government will pick up evacuees from the four points and transport them to the nearest shelter.

A working group was set up to prepare the setting-up of the emergency shelters and emergency assembly and pick-up points. The working group consists of officials from the Social Welfare Bureau (IAS), the Education and Youth Affairs Bureau (DSEJ), the Sports Bureau (ID), and the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (IACM).

According to an IAS statement, the 16 shelters can accommodate 24,872 people. Based on Macau’s population of 658,900 at the end of June, according to official statistics, this would mean that 3.8 percent of the population could take refuge in the shelters.

The 24,872 places comprise 11,913 seats and 12,959 beds.

According to IAS officials during yesterday’s briefing, the 16 shelters will open once the government announces the emergency evacuation for residents in the city’s low-lying areas when a storm surge during a typhoon hits their neighbourhoods.

When the government issues the third level of a storm surge warning signal (also called the Orange warning) – when the flood level is forecast to reach between one metre and 1.5 metres above the street level in the Inner Harbour area, all 16 shelters will open.

According to IAS officials, the shelters will provide drinking water, solid food, mattresses, washing facilities and access to battery charging points for digital devices. Signs in the shelters provide relevant information in three languages – Chinese, English and Portuguese.

All the shelters also include breastfeeding rooms and facilities for the disabled.

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:46 am

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