After Typhoon Mangkhut: Classes suspended for HK schools, some students' homes were damaged, and chaotic scenes at MTR stations

After Typhoon Mangkhut: Classes suspended for HK schools, some students' homes were damaged, and chaotic scenes at MTR stations

After one of the most powerful storms on record to hit the city, suspensions and delays mean confusion and long waits for residents

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The scene on Monday at Tai Wai station.
Photo: Felix Wong/SCMP

Typhoon Mangkhut left more than 600 sections of road across Hong Kong blocked by strewn trees and other obstacles, officials revealed on Monday morning.

And commuters were left confused and angry as they tried to get to work during large-scale suspension of rail and bus services caused by the storm. The city’s major bus companies announced they would continue to suspend most services, while ferry and rail operators said services could not resume in full.

The Education Bureau announced on Sunday, September 16 that classes are suspended for all schools across Hong Kong on Monday.

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Mangkhut, one of the most powerful storms on record to hit the city, caused extensive damage and flooding when it hit on Sunday.

Young Post junior reporter Zachary Perez Jones, 13, lives in Discovery Bay and reports a lot of damage, including shattered windows and glass doors in his building. Zachary tells us the Discovery Bay ferry pier was flooded, and a temporary Octopus card reader had to be set up as the access gates broke during the typhoon. 

"[Our home] had a lot of leaking, and one of our windows blew open, breaking the lock," said the South Island School student. "Other than that, our home is fine."

Eunice Yip, 17, also a junior reporter, is another whose home was affected.

Typhoon Mangkhut's path of destruction

Construction came tumbling down and windows were blown off buildings as Typhoon Mangkhut continued its path of destruction in Hong Kong.

Posted by South China Morning Post on Sunday, 16 September 2018

 

"I live in Tsuen Wan and the rain actually affected us more," said the Hong Kong Shue Yan University student. "Water was leaking through the windows because the rain was so heavy. We prepared by buying more food, and taping our windows. Luckily, none of our windows were broken."

According to Commissioner for Transport Mable Chan at a media briefing, which chief executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor attended, more than 600 road sections are blocked, and only a few have been cleared.

“About 30 road sections, especially those on major highways, have been cleared for residents’ commuting this morning … The Transport Department’s emergency coordination centre will continue to follow up with the Highways Department and contractors on other road clearances,” she said.

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Chan said more than 170 sets of traffic lights around the city had been damaged, and repair work was under way. She called on travellers to be patient.

KMB, Hong Kong's largest bus operator, and its sister company Long Win Bus, which serves Lantau Island, said their daytime bus services would be suspended for safety reasons until further notice because conditions on most major roads remained unsatisfactory, and some bus stops had been damaged during the storm.

All daytime routes of two other major bus companies would also be suspended, except for two routes of New World First Bus (routes 42 and 82M), and Citybus routes 48, 70, 72, 72A, 75, 90, 592, S1 and S56, which would provide limited service.

Typhoon Mangkhut smashes through Hong Kong

Hong Kong suffered widespread infrastructural damage as Typhoon Mangkhut lashed across the city on Sunday.

Posted by South China Morning Post on Sunday, 16 September 2018

 

All rail links were set to resume normal service, apart from East Rail and Light Rail, where some routes remained suspended

First Ferry announced that the Central to Mui Wo ferry service could only be resumed by late morning, while inter-islands and inner harbour ferry services would remain suspended. Ferry services between Central and Cheung Chau would resume after 7am, but departure times would be arranged according to the on-site situation.

In Fanling, one of the four East Rail Line stations with no train services at all, a woman said she was upset about the suspension.

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“They originally told us to wait for their shuttle bus. I waited for a long time, and then they said there won’t be anything … What should I do? I work in Whampoa and my boss is chasing me,” she said.

Cally Chan, a 45-year-old office clerk at Sha Tin station, who lives in Sham Tseng in the New Territories, said she normally went to work by bus. But due to bus suspensions, she had to switch to the MTR.

“I waited for 45 minutes for a minibus to get to Tsuen Wan MTR station this morning and arrived here to see the crowd. I don’t know what to do now,” she said. “I heard from my colleague that she has been waiting at Tai Wai station for 45 minutes.”

Commuters struggle to get to their trains at Tai Wai station.
Photo: Felix Wong/SCMP

But she was not too angry about the situation. She said: “The arrangement is acceptable. There’s no other way. Trees are collapsed everywhere.”

Lau Wing-hong, a 46-year-old IT clerk who works near Tai Po Market station, had just arrived at Kowloon Tong.

“The staff said I can only get off at Sha Tin and find other transportation to get to Tai Po Market,” he said. “I don’t know how long I have to wait here. I asked the staff, but they were not able to give me much information. I wish they would arrange shuttle bus services, but I also understand that the roads are blocked. I’m now contacting my boss about the situation.”

A busy morning at Tai Wai station.
Photo: Felix Wong/SCMP

At 8.45am outside Tai Po Market, the line protruding from the already crowded lobby only grew longer, despite many frustrated travellers deciding to leave.

“I have waited 45 minutes,” said Ben Lo, 40, who lived near Tai Wo, where train services were suspended.

He said he left home at 7.45am and took a minibus to Tai Po Market station to try to get to work in Central. But he decided to leave after speaking on the phone to a colleague, who said he was stuck a few stations away at Tai Wai.

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“There should be an announcement to call a half-day off so clear-up work can be carried out,” he said, complaining about the lack of bus services.

Commuters from the Tsuen Wan and Kwun Tong lines continued to arrive at Kowloon Tong station to transit to the partially suspended East Rail line.

William Wan, a 63-year-old engineer working in Fo Tan, had been waiting at the station for 30 minutes. He had gone up to the street to search for buses, only to find services were yet to resume.

Typhoon Mangkhut blows windows out in Hong Kong's Kowloon

Typhoon Mangkhut blew windows out in Kowloon, as the storm struck Hong Kong hard.

Posted by South China Morning Post on Saturday, 15 September 2018

 

“The government should allow all workers to be exempted from work today,” he said. “The MTR has tried its best, but I think they can raise the frequency of trains from every 10 minutes to every two to three minutes.”

Speaking on an RTHK radio programme, Ronny Tong Ka-wah, who sits on Lam’s cabinet, the Executive Council, said it was impractical to expect the government to give people the day off work.

“In a capitalist society, the government has no power to meddle with all the contracts between employers and employees,” he said.

Typhoon damage was still plaguing this bus stop, near Diamond Hill station.
Photo: Winson Wong/SCMP

Tong added that while the chief executive and the education minister had the power to suspend schools or courts for specific reasons, there was no law saying the government could exempt ordinary residents from work.

The Hospital Authority announced that its services, including its public clinics and physiotherapy services, had resumed.

“But because of serious road traffic disruptions, if any patient could not make it to his medical appointment today, he can call the clinics and make another one. One must not worry and rush to their medical appointments,” the statement read.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Chaotic scenes at MTR stations as grim Typhoon Mangkhut recovery begins

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