The Civil Protection Task Force on Tuesday presented a summary of the work done by its constituent departments and groups ahead of the start of Macau’s so-called ‘peak season’ for typhoons.
The Chief of the Unitary Police Service (SPU) Ma Io Kun presented updates on several ongoing disaster-prevention works during Tuesday’s press conference.
Ma also unveiled two new mobile platforms launched with the aim of better disseminating information to the public. The apps started operating on Tuesday.
The new internet-based platforms are the “Macao CP Info” app available for iOS and Android systems as well as a WeChat channel from the civil protection services where important information will be broadcast in future “in order to keep the citizens informed.”
Ma said the platforms would broadcast information on typhoons and other events of importance to the public. They are available in the two official languages, Chinese and Portuguese, as well as in English.
In Ma’s words, the platforms are the “first step in the creation of an intelligent and safe city.”
Meanwhile, evaluating the works of civil protection, Ma said the response of the Civil Protection Action Center to the passage of last year’s typhoon Mangkhut – as well as the several tests and drills developed this year – were considered satisfactory.
“The results were satisfactory, but we are still [improving],” said Ma, adding that this April, the SPU also concluded the Plans of Civil Protection and Evacuation from low-lying areas during Storm Surge.
Regarding one civil protection drill, known as “Crystal Fish,” the Commander noted that was the first time such an event has been open to the participation of the public, counting a total of 390 civilian participants.
The Commander also noted that the SPU has collaborated with the Education and Youth Affairs Bureau for the creation of a new textbook to be used in schools on the subject of “Education for Security.”
Questioned on the topic by the media, the acting director of the Macau Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau, Tang Iu Man, reaffirmed estimates from the start of the year that four to six typhoons will likely come within 800 kilometres of Macau.
“We do not disregard the possibility of having some severe typhoons [this year],” said Tang, “but this would depend on a forecast only possible to do in two or three months’ time.”
“At this moment, I can only say that there might be a possibility of having two or three severe typhoons entering the South China sea. It is too early to know if they will affect Macau [or not].”
According to Macau Daily Times, Tang also said that the way the bureau classifies intense rain will probably need to change in future.
“After a preliminary evaluation is our understanding and opinion that such system should be reclassified in a way that could reflect the different degrees or levels of intense rainfall and its impact on society,” Tang said. “The current system cannot respond to social needs. We are going to review it addressing its reclassification.”
Questioned on the possibility of enforcing rules to force the closure of casino operators during severe typhoons, SPU Commander Ma said that would depend on the exact provisions of the Civil Protection Law.
“We want to have this rule clearly established and that is why we need the Basic Law for Civil Protection to be approved, in order to attribute to the Chief Executive the competence to suspend gaming activities,” he said.
Before then, Ma could only say, “we believe that the gaming concessionaires would have to take into account the safety of their staff members.”
An official of the Municipal Affairs Bureau (IAM) said that the bureau had trimmed over 6,000 trees and completely removed 465 others in anticipation of the peak typhoon season. The official said that the pruning and removal measures were taken to prevent falling vegetation from becoming a danger to the public.
The same official also said that IAM had acquired new equipment to face the increase in waste created by the passage of typhoons. Such equipment includes five trucks and 15 autonomous operation garbage collection boxes.
The respondent also said that the IAM is coordinating to build condominiums management companies to enforce a system in which all garbage collections bins would be kept indoors during typhoons. The garbage would only be taken outside after the typhoon signal eight was lowered.