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Published: 10:21, September 03, 2023 | Updated: 14:58, September 03, 2023
HK united cleaning up city after typhoon
By Shadow Li and Wang Zhan
Published:10:21, September 03, 2023 Updated:14:58, September 03, 2023 By Shadow Li and Wang Zhan

Secretary for Home and Youth Affairs Alice Mak Mei-kuen (left) leads government staff members in helping elderly persons who stayed in a temporary shelter during the height of Typhoon Saola to return to their elderly homes in Sha Tau Kok on Sept 2, 2023. (PHOTO / HKSAR GOVERNMENT)

HONG KONG – Various sectors of Hong Kong’s community turned up in droves on Saturday to clean up the mess left by super typhoon Saola.

The efforts were in tandem with the government’s first-ever “government-wide mobilization” effort that assembled about 100 civil servants as a response team for post-disaster relief work.

Volunteers were seen clearing up debris and fallen trees that had blocked sidewalks across the city. Some were on duty at temporary shelters to help the elderly taking refuge there

Volunteers were seen clearing up debris and fallen trees that had blocked sidewalks across the city. Some were on duty at temporary shelters to help the elderly taking refuge there.

The special administrative region was put on high alert on Friday as Saola approached the city, with typhoon Signal No 8 hoisted on 2:40 am. The tropical cyclone warning, which was upgraded to Typhoon Signal No 10 on Friday night, left 86 people injured (48 men and 38 women), uprooted 1,545 trees and inundated 21 places. There were two reports of landslide.

The Home Affairs Department opened 40 temporary shelters, where 520 people sought refuge at the height of the storm.

Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu approved activating a “government-wide mobilization” level of coordination for relief, according to a spokesman for the SAR government.

ALSO READ: Hong Kong picks up the pieces as Saola moves away

The government is also providing relief for residents affected by the typhoon to ensure the city’s speedy return to normal, the spokesman said on Saturday night.

As Saola moved away from the territory on Saturday, the government mobilized a quick response unit comprising more than 100 civil servants from various departments to provide support in several districts.

Secretary for Home and Youth Affairs Alice Mak Mei-kuen led a team to Sha Tau Kok to help elderly people staying in a temporary sheltering facility to return home.

Members of the response unit also went to Tung Chung Heung to carry out clean-up work, removing garbage and fallen tree branches from the roads.

Secretary for Home and Youth Affairs Alice Mak Mei-kuen (right), and Under Secretary for Home and Youth Affairs Clarence Leung Wang-ching (left), help clean up a temporary shelter for elderly persons on Sept 2, 2023. (PHOTO / HKSAR GOVERNMENT)

Others went to Kwun Tong to help residents remove sandbags, and cleaned up pavements on Hoi Pong Road, Lei Yue Mun, and Lei Yue Mun Sports Centre, which was used as a temporary shelter.

The spokesman said the concerted efforts of the government and all sectors of the community have helped to minimize the typhoon’s impact on the city.

The emergency mobilization program was first raised in Lee’s Policy Address last year. Every government department would be required to make a list of names to ensure that an emergency task force would be formed and activated to handle any major crisis.

Nicholas Muk Ka-chun, a teacher at Pui Kiu Middle School, was among those helping in the city-wide clean-up campaign. He said road signs had been blown away and many trees uprooted by the typhoon.

READ MORE: HK downgrades typhoon alert as city services gradually resume

Muk, who’s also a member of Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, helped in clearing up the debris outside the Hong Kong Central Library and near Paterson Street in Causeway Bay.

Lawmaker Chow Ho-ding, who helped out in Tuen Mun and Yuen Long, said the city had been well  prepared for the typhoon as the government had warned the public on time and made early preparations.

In Tsuen Wan and Kwai Tsing, lawmaker Joephy Chan Wing-yan of the city’s largest labor group, the Federation of Trade Unions, led a team in sweeping fallen objects from the roads.

Kwun Tong District Officer Andy Lam (right), together with other government staff members, carrying out clearance work to remove garbage and fallen branches and leaves at Hoi Pong Road, Lei Yue Mun on Sept 2, 2023. (PHOTO / HKSAR GOVERNMENT)

She said the government’s efforts to mobilize such a big team shows it has the resolve to deal with natural disasters and minimize the effects on the public.




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