No Wanda – In Hong Kong, common sense keeps lives safe in a typhoon | International

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IF ANY government could congratulate itself on a storm well-weathered, it was surely Hong Kong’s. Mangkhut, the strongest of the 16 typhoons since the second world war for which its observatory has hoisted the highest, number 10, signal, inflicted no recorded deaths and just 363 injuries. Waglan Island in the east sustained mean winds of 161kph (100mph), the second-highest on record, and gusts of 260kph. The storm surge at Tai Po Kau on the mainland, of 3.4m, was the highest recorded. But people still found reason to blame the government.

When typhoon Wanda struck Hong Kong in 1962, it killed 183 and left 72,000 homeless. In the early 1960s huge shanty-town populations were moved into safer government high-rises. Meteorological prediction and administrative preparation have improved beyond all recognition. Regular updates were posted as Mangkhut advanced. Fishing fleets and merchant craft evaded its path. The authorities evacuated low-lying villages and opened shelters for the homeless. Buses evacuated thousands of residents. Flood barriers were erected.

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