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Typhoon Vicente

It was 13 years ago that the typhoon signal No. 10 was last hoisted in Hong Kong, until hurricane-level tropical cyclone Vicente swept past Hong Kong with amber-warning rainstorms last night. Thankfully, no severe casualties or major flooding were caused. The forecast and warning mechanism of the Hong Kong Observatory efficiently helped members of the public and businesses, as well as public service providers, to get well prepared to reduce the risk and damage of this most intense storm. While inconvenience was caused to railway commuters stranded in some stations, passengers' safety should always come first in such inclement weather conditions. I trust the MTR Corporation will review the incident to see if improvements can be made to their arrangements.

Right after the Executive Council meeting this morning, I went to inspect the storm damage in some areas. My first stop was the "Dried Seafood Street" in Sheung Wan, which used to be a flooding black spot where shops suffered severe losses in heavy rains.I talked to the owner of one of the shops there who told me the construction of a pumping station with an underground flood storage pond on the Sheung Wan waterfront in 2009 has greatly eased the chronic flood problem in the area. His shop had remained intact amid the rainstorms of the typhoon signal No. 10 last night.

Photo   Photo

My next stop was MacDonnell Road in the Mid-Levels. Gale-force winds toppled many trees there, and colleagues from the Tree Management Office and the Highways Department took prompt action to clear debris during the night to minimise disruption to road users. I have instructed colleagues to follow up well on all necessary actions and inspections to ensure public safety.

Despite the huge power of Vicente, life in Hong Kong was restored to its normal course this morning. I would like to express my sincere appreciation to my colleagues in the civil service, from the front line to the back office, including the Hong Kong Observatory, the Hong Kong Police Force, the Fire Services Department and our health-care teams, for their professional services, their immediate responses to emergencies and their commitment to best serving the people of Hong Kong.

July 24, 2012