Hong Kong is still cleaning up after Typhoon Mangkhut, with students getting Monday and Tuesday off. Meanwhile, the storm left the Philippines devastated – around 40 to 50 people were buried alive by a mudslide with little hope of survival.
Mangkhut struck the Philippines on Saturday and roared into Hong Kong on Sunday, trashing the city’s offices, flooding roads, and flinging trees and debris on to railway tracks. One insurance assessor guessed that there would be more than US$1 billion in claims, making it the most destructive storm in local history.
Some are angry at the government for not announcing an official day off on Monday. Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor defended the decision, saying it would be irresponsible for her to declare a holiday before a comprehensive assessment of the damage was conducted.
Dozens of pictures of damaged school campuses are circulating online. At Diocesan Boys’ School (DBS), the driveway and swimming pool have been damaged by fallen trees; at La Salle College, a ceiling has collapsed; Heep Yunn School’s entrance is obstructed by uprooted trees; and some glass windows at Maryknoll Convent School have been shattered.
Schools on the outlying islands of Hong Kong suffered a greater hit. Walls outside Kwok Man School in Cheung Chau were torn down by the storm, while the classrooms were flooded with garbage and dirt brought by the giant waves.
DBS has launched “Operation Mangkhut”, in which both teachers and students will take part in a campaign to clean up the campus when schools re-open today.
The Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union is urging the Education Bureau to grant special subsidies to schools for post-storm recovery given the severe impact caused by the super typhoon. It advises the bureau to simplify the subsidy application process, and provide full assistance to schools in settling payments for cleaning up and repairing campus facilities.