The government says that the city’s first-ever typhoon drill named “Crystal Fish” succeeded in testing its recently drafted evacuation plan and its also recently designed command platform for emergency response.
The drill took place on Saturday.
All the 29 government entities and private organisations in the government’s civil protection structure took part in the drill, which simulated that a super-typhoon named “Crystal Fish” was approaching Macau as the Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau (SMG) forecast the flood level to exceed 1.50 metres above the road level in the city’s low-lying areas.
The 29 entities in the civil protection structure included the city’s various law enforcement agencies, other government entities including the weather bureau and the public Conde de Sao Januario Hospital Centre, as well as several entities involved in civil protection – power utility CEM, telecom operator CTM, Macao Water, Macau Red Cross, Kiang Wu Hospital, broadcaster TDM, and the company providing management services for Sai Van Bridge.
During the “Crystal Fish” drill that started at 2 p.m. and ended shortly before 8 p.m. on Saturday, two evacuation exercises were carried out in Ha Van district and Coloane Village respectively, to test the government’s recently-drafted evacuation plan.
Ha Van is the Chinese name for the Praia do Manduco neighbourhood in the Inner Harbour area near Barra.
The government announced earlier this month that it had drafted a plan for residents to evacuate when a storm surge hits their neighbourhoods. The evacuation plan aims to help residents and business owners in the city’s low-lying areas to evacuate to shelters designated by the government when a storm surge hits Macau.
According to the evacuation plan, the government has designated 16 locations as evacuation centres for when a storm surge hits the city. The 16 centres include schools and sport facilities, nine on the peninsula, three in Taipa and four in Coloane. The government has said that the 16 centres can accommodate up to 24,000 people in total and have beds for more than 12,000 people.
In addition to the 16 shelters, the government has also designated four locations as emergency assembly and pick-up points in and near high-risk flooding areas, for residents living in nearby areas affected by floods as well as for the elderly, infirm and disabled. During an evacuation, the government will pick up evacuees from the four points and transport them to the nearest evacuation centres.
During the “Crystal Fish” drill on Saturday, community associations in Ha Van district and Coloane Village organised 80 residents to participate in the two evacuation exercises. The government did not ask other residents to take part in the two evacuation exercises.
The S. Lourenço Municipal Market Complex is used as the emergency assembly point for the evacuation exercise in Ha Van district. Participants who arrived at the assembly points were then transported by the government to Instituto Salesiano – a Roman-Catholic school near Government Headquarters.
For the evacuation exercises that took place in Coloane Village, participants were “evacuated” to the nearby Macau Public Security Forces Academy.
Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On personally oversaw the drill at Civil Protection Operations Centre in Pac On in Taipa.
In addition to the evacuation exercises at Ha Van district and Coloane Village, the “Crystal Fish” drill, which started at 2 p.m. and ended shortly before 8 p.m. on Saturday, also included a chlorine gas leak simulation carried out by the Fire Services Bureau (CB), an exercise simulating that people were trapped in cars in a “flooded underground car park” that was carried out at the headquarters of the Macau Customs Service, and an exercise conducted in the Inner Harbour near Ilha Verde district simulating that people were rescued from flooded low-lying areas.
About 1,700 public security forces officers and other government officials and public servants participated in Saturday’s drill.
Hato pummelled Macau on August 23, causing massive flooding in low-lying areas, killing 10, injuring 244 and resulting in economic losses estimated at 12.5 billion patacas.