World

Tropical storm Pakhar hits already buffeted HK, Macau

HONG KONG A powerful storm lashed Hong Kong and Macau yesterday, just days after a punishing typhoon swept through the region and claimed at least 18 lives.

Both cities raised a Typhoon 8 signal - the third-highest warning level - early yesterday as severe tropical storm Pakhar made landfall in the region, where emergency workers were still battling to repair Wednesday's damage.

A total of 206 flights were cancelled and another 471 delayed because of the latest storm, while 44 flights had to be diverted, said Hong Kong's Airport Authority.

Cathay Pacific, the city's flagship carrier, said "cancellations, diversions and severe delays" were expected.

All ferry services in Hong Kong were suspended until the storm warning was lowered in both cities in the afternoon.

No deaths were reported, but Hong Kong hospital officials said 62 people were injured.

In Macau, eight people were slightly hurt, a government spokesman said.

A Chinese cargo ship was sinking east of Hong Kong yesterday morning and all 11 crew members were rescued.

Pakhar brought winds of up to 130kmh to Hong Kong.

In Macau, the authorities issued fresh flood warnings as shops that were battered on Wednesday remained closed.

Traffic lights stayed blacked out with power yet to return to parts of the city.

Pakhar arrived as Macau was still picking up the pieces following Typhoon Hato, the city's strongest typhoon in 53 years, said its government.

Hato, which triggered the most severe Typhoon 10 warning, ripped through the gambling hub.

The official death toll in Macau reached 10, as its government faced recriminations over its lack of preparedness.

Four Hong Kong journalists covering the impact of the typhoon were barred entry into Macau on Saturday on the grounds that they "threatened the stability of internal security", according to the Hong Kong Journalists Association.

- AFP

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