The government has set up a committee with the aim of reviewing its existing mechanism to tackle disasters and coming up with measures to improve the mechanism, according to an announcement in the Official Gazette (BO) on Monday.
According to the Macau Post Daily, the committee consists of the chief executive, secretary for administration and justice, secretary for economy and finance, secretary for security, secretary for social affairs and culture, secretary for transport and public works, the commissioner-general of the Unitary Police Service (SPU) and the director-general of the Macau Customs Service, according to yesterday’s gazette.
Officially named the Committee for the Review of the Mechanism for Responding to Major Disasters and its Follow-up and Improvement, it is chaired by the chief executive.
The setting-up of the committee came after Typhoon Hato hit Macau on Wednesday. The super-typhoon killed 10 and injured 244. The government’s admittedly insufficient response to the disaster shocked local residents and forced the government to ask, for the first time, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Macau Garrison for help – a move widely welcomed by the population.
According to Monday’s gazette, the committee aims to review the government’s existing crisis-management mechanism, including weather forecasting, coordination of civil protection work and dissemination of information, as well as the state of the relevant infrastructures. The committee also aims to come up with a comprehensive plan for crisis management in the future.
According to Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On’s executive order on establishing the committee with immediate effect, it can invite experts, scholars and civic leaders to attend its meetings if needed.
The Chief Executive Office (GCE) said in a statement that Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On chaired the committee’s first meeting yesterday.
During the meeting, Chui ordered the participating officials to listen to civil society’s views regarding the government’s response to the Hato disaster as well as the government’s review of its mechanism for responding to disasters, according to the statement.
Victor Chan Chi Ping, the government’s chief spokesman, told reporters yesterday that the functions of the new committee were different from those of the Committee for Responding to Unforeseen Incidents, which was established in 2012.
According to the gazette, the Committee for Responding to Unforeseen Incidents is to coordinate and supervise the relevant government entities for tackling natural disasters, major accidents, severe public health incidents and severe public security incidents.
Last week, Chui accepted Fong’s resignation over the latter’s controversial handling of the Hato disaster.