Sai Kung District councillors lambast government on slow typhoon clean-up

Tseung Kwan O waterfront park Photo:

It’s been nearly a month now since super-typhoon Mangkhut hit Hong Kong, and the clean-up is nowhere near over. Sai Kung was one of the most hardest hit areas and the beaches and waterfront are still a mess. Yesterday Sai Kung District Councillors  held a special meeting to discuss the progress of the rehabilitation work. District Council members denounced the work of various government departments and they lambasted the fragmented bureaucracy and slowness and inadequacy of the response so far, highlighting the waterfront promenade in Tseung Kwan O as a prime example of bad planning, bad execution and bad repairs. The loose sand and brick design along with the lack of any offshore breakwater meant the whole area was devastated, and they urged  the Government to rebuild the promenade with concrete  as well as the construction of an offshore breakwater.

Councillors protesting about the government’s slowness in fixing the devastation caused by the typhoon. Photo: 林社炳/Apple Daily

Councillor Chris Cheung said that although the typhoon brought serious damage to the area, the government still maintains it was only “slight”. He asked “if the government officers were blind or stupid?” Christine Fong  said that the loss of soil along the promenade was up to one metre deep in places causing major safety concerns to the public.

The Highways Department responded that maintenance-related work, including cleaning up soil and damaged facilities, and the repair of footpaths and cycle tracks, is expected to be complete by December. The Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) indicated that many stones  making up the protective seawall had been washed away, making repairs difficult and that they expect to complete the project before the next rainy season.

In addition, some District Council members criticized the Government for their slow reactions in dealing with the problem of fallen trees. Lui Man-kwong pointed out that there were many trees in his constituency, where, although the dead branches have been cleared, no-one has come to collect the cut up trunks. He criticised the fact that the different processes involved in moving a fallen tree needed to be dealt with by different departments. The Chief Engineer of the Civil Engineering and Development Department, Chan Wai-wai, said that at the end of this month, the relevant departments would review the situation and formulate improvement measures.

Marine Department Acting Senior Marine Officer Chan Ka-man pointed out that as of yesterday they had processed 125 stranded, tilting, or capsized boats. Just the previous weekend, the  Department had started to cleanup the wrecks in Hebe Haven and Pak Sha Wan Shipyard.

As for the Marine Police Base pier in Sai Kung there are a number of structural problems including a 10 cm wide, 59 metre long and 17 cm deep crack which needs to be monitored.

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