Macau investigates weather bureau after deadly typhoon
HONG KONG (AP) — Macau’s anticorruption agency has launched an investigation into the Chinese casino hub’s meteorological office after a deadly typhoon struck last week, leaving 10 dead.
The corruption agency said in a statement late Monday that it is investigating the meteorology bureau’s typhoon forecasting procedures and management, including former director Fong Soi-kun, who resigned after Typhoon Hato.
It said it had received numerous complaints and requests to investigate the weather bureau in the wake of the storm.
Officials said Hato was the strongest storm to hit Macau in 53 years. It lashed the city with heavy winds and rain that flooded large parts of the city, knocked out power and water supplies and left more than 240 people injured. Casinos in Macau, the world’s biggest gambling market, were forced to run on backup generators.
Residents are angry that unlike nearby Hong Kong, which came through the storm largely unscathed, Macau forecasters did not raise the typhoon warning signals quickly enough, which would have given people more time to prepare.
Macau’s Commission Against Corruption did not give further details of its investigation, but did mention that it received similar complaints last year when a storm warning signal was not hoisted for Typhoon Nida.
In an unprecedented move, the city’s Beijing-backed leader, Chui Sai-on, asked troops from China’s People’s Liberation Army, who normally don’t leave their garrison, to help with cleanup efforts in the former Portuguese colony. Macau is now a specially administered Chinese region that largely runs its own affairs.
The troops, along with cleanup crews and volunteers, collected 7,300 metric tons (8,050 U.S. tons) of trash left behind by the storm.