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Solving flooding issue most fundamental issue: forum

Guest speakers and members of the audience at Sunday’s Macau Forum said that while the government properly carried out its tasks in responding to Super Typhoon Mangkhut that pummelled on September 16, the government will need to carry out additional measures with the aim of fundamentally solving the long-standing flooding issue in the city’s low-lying areas when storm surges hit the city during typhoons.

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UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:44 am

Guest speakers and members of the audience at Sunday’s Macau Forum said that while the government properly carried out its tasks in responding to Super Typhoon Mangkhut that pummelled on September 16, the government will need to carry out additional measures with the aim of fundamentally solving the long-standing flooding issue in the city’s low-lying areas when storm surges hit the city during typhoons.

The weekly open-air debate is hosted by government-owned broadcaster TDM in Areia Preta Park every Sunday.

Residents have, in general, praised the government for the significant improvements in its disaster response to Super Typhoon Mangkhut, compared with when Super Typhoon Hato devastated Macau on August 23 last year – killing 10, injuring 244 and causing massive flooding in the city’s low-lying areas.

While there were no fatalities during Mangkhut’s onslaught, the city’s various low-lying areas were still hit by serious flooding caused by a storm surge.

After the Mangkhut assault, Secretary for Security Wong Sio Chak said that the various tasks to respond to typhoons and other disasters that the government has prepared since last year have enabled the authorities to obtain a “relatively ideal” achievement in its tackling of Super Typhoon Mangkhut.

The government has said that the financial losses due to Mangkhut were estimated to be much lower than those caused by Hato, which are estimated by the government to have reached 12.5 billion patacas.

During the forum, guest speaker Lei Leong Wong, who heads the Alliance for Common People Building Up Macau (API), said he agreed that the government properly carried out its tasks in tackling Mangkhut. He was quick to add that the government has, however, still not made noticeable progress in its various flood-prevention projects.

Lei urged the government to get its various flood-control projects off the ground, so that civil protection staff will not be forced again and again to carry out tough rescue tasks each time a strong typhoon hits the city.

Fellow guest speaker Ha Van District Welfare and Mutual Help Association President Cheong Lai Chan said that the most fundamental issue was to solve the long-standing flooding issue that residents in low-lying areas are suffering.

Ha Van is the Chinese name for the Praia do Manduco neighbourhood in the Inner Harbour area.

Cheong noted that this time – when Mangkhut hit Macau – the government had to rely for the first time on the preparations that it made over the past year following last year’s Hato. She said that residents in Ha Van district have been satisfied with the government’s response to Mangkhut.

Cheong pointed out that Macau Customs Service officers carried out a string of comprehensive measures to ensure that residents living on low-level floors in the low-lying district had already been evacuated before serious flooding hit the neighbourhood.

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:44 am

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