With the discovery of two bodies floating in a flooded parking lot, the death toll from Typhoon Hato in and around Macau rose to eight on Thursday.
Macau’s worst storm in 53 years battered the China casino hub for several hours Wednesday morning, causing severe flooding and widespread property damage and major disruption to water and electric utilities. More than 200 people on the peninsula have been injured in the flood waters and resulting mayhem.
On Thursday, much of Macau was still without power. The South China Morning Post described a “trail of destruction, with streets filled with massive piles of rubbish, dead fish, furniture, torn down billboards and scaffolding, as several uprooted trees and shuttered windows still lay on the streets on Thursday evening.”
‘They Should Have Warned Us’
Macau’s residents, meanwhile, railed against the enclave’s government for what they saw as slow rescue operations and a lack of contingency planning.
“We lost two neighbors. They used to come to my shop. We are very upset with the government,” grocery shop owner Chrystal Chan told the Morning Post. “They should have warned us before this happened, so we could have prepared.Now we have no water, no electricity, no internet for over 24 hours,” she said. “The government just said sorry and [gave] no explanation.”
A Government Information Bureau spokesman insisted late on Thursday that electricity was gradually being restored. Some of the casinos were able to use their back-up electricity generators, but Macau’s gaming officials ordered all properties in areas affected by the power outage to be closed for gaming.
Early reports indicate damage to casino buildings to be relatively minimal.
Casinos Shuttered or Empty
Wynn Macau in Cotai is understood to be one of those that remains shut and without electricity, although others, like the Galaxy Hotel, also in Cotai, declared itself open for business on Thursday. However, open casinos are running at a diminished capacity, with depleted staff and casino floors that remain empty.
Sands China said in an public statement on Thursday that its Sands Macao operations had been “significantly reduced on Wednesday 23 August due to power and water outage. [But] as of earlier this evening we have largely resumed normal operations as power and water supply are being progressively restored.”
Several properties in Macau’s downtown peninsula are also thought to be without power and water. SJM Holdings told GGRAsia that its Grand Lisboa and Hotel Lisboa on the peninsula were still affected and that it didn’t expect to resume normal gaming operations until Sunday.
On Thursday afternoon it emerged that Fong Soi Kun, director of Macau’s Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau had resigned. The bureau had rated Hato as a “category 3” typhoon, only revising it to a maximum “category 10” when it was too late.