Hong Kong Cleans Up Typhoon Havoc After Mangkhut Shuts City
(Bloomberg) -- The cleanup from Typhoon Mangkhut began in Hong Kong and southern China on Monday after the storm left at least four dead in Guangdong province, damaged buildings and disrupted flights throughout the region.
Mangkhut, the world’s most powerful storm this year, was blamed for more than 200 million yuan ($29.1 million) of damage in the southern province of Guangdong, state broadcaster China Central Television reported. The storm killed dozens when it earlier hit the Philippines.
The weakened remnants of Mangkhut were forecast to move across the inland area of southern China, and all storm warning signals will be canceled shortly, the Hong Kong Observatory said at 6:45 p.m. Macau’s casinos reopened after a 33-hour shutdown that’s estimated to cost operators as much as $186 million in revenue. Flights in and out of the region are gradually resuming.
"Mangkhut brought considerable damages to Hong Kong," the Hong Kong Observatory said in an advisory on Monday. "There may still be risks in the surroundings."
Mangkhut had shut Hong Kong all day Sunday after the Observatory gave the storm its highest warning signal. Hong Kong escaped the brunt although media reports showed images of apartment building windows being blown out, trees toppling, scaffolds collapsing and a crane falling off a building at a construction site. Storm surges raised sea levels as much as four meters higher than usual in Victoria Harbour, according to the Observatory.
Schools in Hong Kong will be closed for a second day on Tuesday, while some of the city’s bus and railway services remain suspended. The government aims to complete its clean up of major roads by 5 a.m. local time on Tuesday, said the city’s commissioner for transport during a briefing on Monday. Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam urged companies to show understanding and adopt a flexible approach to staff who have difficulties getting back to work. Hong Kong Disneyland and Hong Kong Ocean Park were shut for clean-up.
Hong Kong Airport is trying to get business back to normal. More than 1,400 flights had been canceled across the region, according to Flight Aware. Cathay Pacific Airways said it expects a gradual return to scheduled operations, but there will be continued delays and some cancellations.
In an unwelcome, and potentially costly first for Macau, the gaming regulator had issued an order on Saturday forcing casinos to close their doors.
“This robs the month of one important weekend day,” Grant Govertsen, an analyst at Union Gaming Securities Asia Ltd., said in a note.
While the casinos were able to reopen this morning, it will take a while to get transportation back to normal given the disruption to flight and ferry services.
September’s revenue growth rate could be affected by as much as seven percentage points, almost cutting in half Union Gaming’s previous forecast of a 15 percent increase, Govertsen said. It also may cut third-quarter revenue growth by two points, to 12 percent.
In China, more than 2.45 million people were relocated and more than 48,000 fishing boats returned to ports in Guangdong province as of 5 p.m. Sunday, when Mangkhut made landfall.
The Philippines was worst hit, particularly the mainly agricultural north-west as the death toll topped 50 with 49 people still missing. The government put losses to the nation’s agriculture sector at 4.99 billion pesos ($92 million), almost all of it rice, and 175,301 hectares of farm land.
Francis Tolentino, a senior adviser to President Rodrigo Duterte, estimated 5.7 million people were affected by the storm.
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