Brav­ing the storm

The Star Malaysia - - World -

A man tak­ing a pho­to­graph as waves crash over a prom­e­nade as Typhoon Mangkhut sweeps past Hong Kong en route to main­land China.

HONG KONG: Ma­cau shut down all its casi­nos in a his­toric first as Typhoon Mangkhut ap­proaches, with au­thor­i­ties warn­ing the gam­bling en­clave would be hit by se­vere flood­ing.

The Ma­cau gov­ern­ment was heav­ily crit­i­cised by res­i­dents last year for fail­ing to pre­pare the city ahead of Typhoon Hato, which left wide­spread dam­age and 12 peo­ple dead.

A state­ment from au­thor­i­ties late Satur­day said the de­ci­sion to shut Ma­cau’s 42 casi­nos was ap­proved by the city leader and agreed by gam­ing bosses.

“The sus­pen­sion of gam­ing op­er­a­tions is for the safety of casino em­ploy­ees, vis­i­tors to the city and res­i­dents,” the gov­ern­ment state­ment said.

Casino staff said that venues would be shut un­til fur­ther no­tice as the city raised its sec­ond high­est storm warn­ing.

Ma­cau’s weather bureau said the storm warn­ing would be raised to the high­est T10 level with the worst rain and winds ex­pected around midday lo­cal time.

Shops and busi­nesses were boarded up and pro­tected by sand­bags across the city and its streets, usu­ally crowded with tourists, were de­serted. Ma­cau, a semi-au­ton­o­mous south­ern Chi­nese city, had to turn to troops from main­land China’s Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army sta­tioned in the en­clave to help with the mas­sive clear-up af­ter Hato.

The city’s weather chief re­signed af­ter the storm, which was the worst to hit Ma­cau in over 50 years, and the gov­ern­ment was forced to apol­o­gise for fail­ing to pre­pare suf­fi­ciently in ad­vance.

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