AT LEAST eight people are said to have been killed and many missing after maximum category 10 storm Typhoon Hato smashed into the southeast Chinese territory of Macau.
“The city looks like it was just in a war,” said one civil servant who declined to be named as they were not authorised to speak to the media, to Reuters on Thursday. Macau’s government broadcaster TDM said Typhoon Hato was the strongest since 1968.
On Wednesday, it battered the financial hub of Hong Kong, uprooting trees, flooding streets, halting financial trading and forcing hundreds of airline flights to be cancelled. There were reports of 34 people injured in Hong Kong, which had not been hit by a category 10 typhoon for five years.
The typhoon’s path of destruction continued on to the former Portuguese colony of Macau, across the Pearl River estuary, and China’s Guangdong Province.
Thousands of Chinese were evacuated from coastal areas ahead of Hato hitting the mainland. Chinese authorities are directing citizens to stockpile enough supplies for one to three days, reported the state news agency Xinhua.
Winds of more than 200 kmh smashed into apartments across Macau, breaking large doors and sending sheets of glass flying through the air.
Macau’s water system pumps were severely damaged and power was cut to over half of Macau, home to around 600,000 people.
While most of the large casinos were operating as normal, many were relying on back-up generators for power.
Severe flooding overwhelmed the teeming enclave which is in the process of building new infrastructure such as a light rail to cope with a surge in visitors.
In Guangdong province, numerous flights and trains were cancelled, with Shenzhen’s International Airport particularly badly hit. Thousands of residents along the Chinese coast were evacuated and fishing vessels were called back to port.
More than 420 flights in and out of Hong Kong were cancelled.
Maximum winds near Hato’s centre were recorded at a destructive 155 kmh as it continued to move west across Guangdong in the general direction of Hainan island.
Hato had been downgraded to a tropical storm on Thursday. It was about 680km west of Hong Kong and expected to weaken further as it moves inland over China.
Additional reporting by Reuters