Before Super Typhoon Mangkhut battered Hong Kong last month, we had braced ourselves for the potentially devastating scenarios, with ample preparations made to fortify our sites and estates against any potential threats. Thanks to the concerted efforts of our colleagues, Mangkhut – a No. 10 signal storm – inflicted no serious damage and casualties on our sites and estates.
Prior to the arrival of the super typhoon, residents had been put on high alert to take all necessary precautions through our regular information dissemination platform and the “iHousing” mobile application. Site and estate staff worked in accordance with established guidelines to make contingency arrangements, namely securing all scaffolding, catch fans, nylon meshes, temporary structures and materials on construction sites; ensuring the safety of slopes and excavations in progress, as well as facilities such as cranes and gondolas; and maintaining a fully operational drainage system. Added to these was an all-out effort to frequently clear drainage channels, water troughs and storm water drains in estates; to maintain an adequate stock of duty and standby water pumps; to remove or secure wind-prone objects such as doors, windows, scaffolding, suspended working platforms and mobile lifts; and to carry out frequent inspections of trees and relevant protection devices in estates. We have also participated in inter-departmental meetings convened by the Security Bureau in a collaborative endeavour to make us more storm-ready.
No sooner had the Hong Kong Observatory issued a No. 3 signal than the Duty Team of our Departmental Communication Centre started its operation ahead of schedule to maintain close liaison with estates and government departments. On that very night when the super storm roared towards our city, all staff on duty showed up early for work, with emergency support personnel standing ready for assistance where required. Some of our estates bore the brunt of Mangkhut, which knocked out power, left water supply and lift service compromised though temporarily, shattered glass windows of flats, ripped off galvanised iron roof sheets at a refuse collection point and toppled many trees.
The typhoon has left a trail of destruction in the territory, giving colleagues a headache as to how clean-up, restoration and recovery should begin. On allocation of resources, we accorded a top priority to the removal of objects posing imminent hazards to public safety and obstructing major pedestrian and vehicular passages. We also saw to it that no site works would resume until and unless site facilities were proved safe.
I am glad to have received letters of commendation and appreciation from local communities in recognition of our colleagues’ professional services. My heartfelt gratitude goes to all who have worked so hard to earn their stripes. Let’s keep up the good work and alleviate the impact of natural disasters on residents.
Director of Housing