139 injured after Hong Kong hit by once-in-a-century rain
A total of 139 injured people have been sent to the hospital, with four in critical condition, after a once-in-a-century downpour battered Hong Kong, as authorities extend "extreme conditions" warning to the start of Saturday.
Due to the impact of Typhoon Haikui, Hong Kong experienced widespread flooding, public transport disruption, and mudslides from the evening of Thursday to Friday. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government declared the first "extreme situation" warning early Friday morning.
The Hong Kong Observatory issued a black rainstorm warning signal at 11:05pm local time (0305 GMT) on Saturday, which was downgraded to a yellow rainstorm warning signal on Friday afternoon.
The black signal had been in effect for over 16 hours, making it the longest recorded duration in Hong Kong.
Acting Director of the Hong Kong Observatory Lee Lap-shun said Friday afternoon that in the past 24 hours, most areas in Hong Kong have received more than 300 mm (about 11.8 inches) of rainfall, with some areas receiving more than 600 mm.
Lee told a joint press conference that during the period, the observatory headquarters recorded over 600 mm of rainfall, which is approximately a quarter of the average annual total.
During the rainstorm, severe flooding and mudslides occurred in various areas of Hong Kong. In the eastern part of Hong Kong Island, particularly at Chai Wan Road Roundabout, the road suffered extensive damage, with scattered debris and exposed steel reinforcements. Nearby shops were also affected by flooding.
At a shopping mall in Wong Tai Sin, the underground level was almost completely submerged by muddy water.
Some residents of the neighborhood said that they had never seen such severe flooding in the shopping mall before and estimated that the businesses on the underground level would suffer significant losses.
Police have received 718 calls for assistance, while the Fire Services Department has received 343 requests for help. After the floodwaters receded on Friday, it was discovered that over 130 cars had been stranded on the road, with more than half of the vehicles already being towed away.
The rainfall in Hong Kong gradually weakened on Friday afternoon, and shops started to reopen. Many residents went to supermarkets and wet markets to purchase daily necessities.
The Hong Kong Observatory predicts that there will still be heavy rainfall on Saturday.