17 January 2019
A man walks amid fallen tree branches after Typhoon Hato brought strong winds and rain to Shenzhen on Wednesday. Photo: Reuters
A man walks amid fallen tree branches after Typhoon Hato brought strong winds and rain to Shenzhen on Wednesday. Photo: Reuters

Casualties likely to rise after Hato pummels Pearl River Delta

At least six people were killed and 153 others were injured as Typhoon Hato battered Macau on Wednesday.

It is feared that the number of casualties could go up after it was reported that over a dozen people were trapped in three flooded underground car parks in the city, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

The city had raised typhoon signal No. 10 for the first time since the transfer of sovereignty in 1999.

The entire city was without electricity for 30 minutes during the storm, while water supply and mobile communications service were patchy.

In Zhuhai, at least two people were killed and 500 injured as Hato ripped through the city.

Hato’s battering of the Pearl River Delta region coincided with the spring tide to push the sea level up. Many river dams in Zhuhai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Zhongshan have been damaged, while there were reports of sea water intrusion.

Witnesses said waves as tall as 10 meters were seen slamming against the shores on Qingren Road at the height of the typhoon.

By 5 p.m., around 30,000 mu of crops were estimated to have been damaged, 275 houses flattened, resulting in an economic loss of around 5.5 billion yuan (US$825.54 million).

The Zhuhai government also reported that as of 4 p.m., power failures had affected about 680,000 residents.

Four major water supply facilities were also affected, and at least one of them was still non-operational by Wednesday night.

Elsewhere in the city, a crane was blown away by strong winds and landed at a construction site in the western district. 

Several vans and trucks were also toppled, while streets were littered with rubbish bins and broken tree branches.

In Shenzhen, at least six people were injured, including two who were in critical condition. Most were injured by broken window glasses and other debris.

Guangdong authorities said Hato’s wind speed of 51.9 meters per second was the strongest since September 1993. Guishan Island in Zhuhai recorded a record-breaking wind speed of 66.9 meters per second.

Along the Zhuhai coastline, some 50 to 210 centimeters of rain was recorded. Record-high sea levels have been registered: 3.13 meters at the Guangzhou Nanshan station, 3.03 meters at the Zhongshan Huangmen station, and 2.49 meters at the Zhuhai China station.

Waves 6 to 10 metres tall were seen crashing on the eastern and southern coastlines of Guangdong province.

The National Meteorological Center announced this year’s first and highest red signal warning for typhoons, shutting down around 220 tourist attractions and evacuating 280,000 people to safer grounds.

Over 40,000 fishing boats had been moved closer to land to avoid being hit by the typhoon.

At around 3 p.m. Wednesday, Hato started weakening at Jiangmen Taishan and had slowly dissipated as it landed in the Guangxi region by night.

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