HONG KONG • A powerful storm lashed Hong Kong and Macau yesterday, four days after a punishing typhoon swept through the region and claimed at least 18 lives.
Both cities raised a Typhoon 8 signal - the third-highest warning level - early yesterday as severe tropical storm Pakhar made landfall in the region, where emergency workers were still battling to repair last Wednesday's damage.
A total of 206 flights were cancelled and another 471 delayed because of the latest storm, while 44 flights had to be diverted, Hong Kong's Airport Authority said. Cathay Pacific, the city's flagship, said "cancellations, diversions and severe delays" were expected.
Flights from Singapore to Hong Kong, and vice versa were also affected yesterday, checks by The Straits Times found.
Two Singapore Airlines flights from Singapore and three from Hong Kong were delayed by several hours. Cathay Pacific cancelled two flights from Singapore and two from Hong Kong yesterday. Scoot and Jetstar flights were also delayed.
No deaths were reported yesterday but Hong Kong hospital officials said 62 people were injured.
In Macau, eight people were slightly hurt, a government spokesman said.
Pakhar brought winds of up to 130 kmh to Hong Kong.
On a working day, the Typhoon 8 signal would have meant the shutdown of the stock market, schools and businesses.
The two cities lowered their typhoon signal to No. 3 in the early afternoon, after Pakhar brushed past and landed in the southern Chinese city of Taishan in the morning.
China's Meteorological Administration maintained its yellow typhoon warning, the third-highest of four levels, as of midday yesterday and said torrential rain is expected in several southern provinces through the afternoon today.
Some ferries to Macau and outlying islands in Hong Kong resumed service after the typhoon signals were lowered.
Earlier, Pakhar led the Macau authorities to issue fresh flooding warnings as shops that were battered on Wednesday remained closed yesterday. Traffic lights stayed blacked out with power yet to return to parts of the city.
The water supply has been restored, a Macau government statement said, but buildings with damaged pumps still lack water.
"This is tough but there is nothing we can do," said shop owner Leung Chin-pang, who has been without water since the first storm hit.
Pakhar - named after a freshwater fish in the lower Mekong river - arrived as worst-hit Macau was still picking up the pieces following Typhoon Hato, the city's strongest typhoon in 53 years, according to its government.
Hato, which triggered the most severe Typhoon 10 warning, ripped through the gambling hub last Wednesday, plunging casinos into darkness and causing destructive floods.
The official death toll in Macau reached 10, as the government of the semi-autonomous Chinese city faced recriminations over its lack of preparedness.
Another eight people are known to have died from Hato in the neighbouring province of Guangdong, which Pakhar also reached at mid-morning yesterday.
Dozens of visitors had returned to the main tourist attraction of Senado Square in Macau yesterday as the clean-up progressed.
Streets appeared cleaner after residents of all ages and around 1,000 troops from the Chinese People's Liberation Army Macau garrison worked to clear piles of debris blocking the streets.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS
The impact of Pakhar on Hong Kong and Macau http://str.sg/4H3x