« Hong Kong officials held a presser on Friday to discuss the ongoing situation following Thursday’s flash flooding.
“As mentioned by a colleague, it was once in 500 years. So, it’s so big and so sudden and predictability is so low, » said Chan Kwok-ki, chief secretary for administration.
« So that’s why we could not act as Typhoon Saola; that we could do the announcement very early before, » he added.
According to the press, Hong Kong’s observatory recorded 158.1 millimetres of water per square metre, per hour, at its headquarters; the highest since 1884 when records began.
As of Friday morning, two people had died and more than 100 were reported injured. Other estimates suggested up to 600 mm of rainfall in parts of Hong Kong, Kowloon and New Territories. The amount of water that fell in 24 hours is equivalent to a quarter of the total annual rainfall for the region.
Asked why the government didn’t use the HK$150 million emergency system to warn residents via SMS, the chief secretary said that ‘we have issued different heavy rain signals to the public. So, I think the announcement is already enough to alert all the members of the public’.
Commenting on water discharge from the Shenzhen reservoir, Tang Ping-keung, secretary for security, said Hong Kong received the notice 45 minutes in advance.
“I know that the public may be worried because the Shenzhen discharge has led to waterlogging in Hong Kong. As a matter of fact, the discharge of flood from Shenzhen is a safety measure for both Shenzhen and Hong Kong, and it is also part of our original plan,” stated the politician.
“In fact, there is not a single case of severe flooding in inland areas. The flooding in Hong Kong in a number of regions does not seem to be directly related to Shenzhen,” he continued. »