A powerful typhoon slammed Hong Kong yesterday, injuring dozens, disrupting communications and bringing business to a standstill in one of the world’s leading financial centers.
Typhoon Vincente made landfall at 4am, after the Hong Kong Observatory issued its No. 10 hurricane signal — the highest — for the first time since 1999.
By early morning, wind speeds that had reached about 140kph moderated to 59kph and the observatory lowered its signal, though still warning the territory’s residents of strong gales.
The government said that 140 people had been injured during the night, including 71 admitted to hospitals, including one who was in serious condition.
Flying debris struck several people in the central business district and subway stations around the territory were converted into temporary shelters to accommodate dozens of stranded passengers.
At daybreak, the normally bustling Central district resembled a ghost town, with the stock market and major banks closed, and businesses shuttered.
Dozens of flights at Hong Kong airport were cancelled or delayed, and ferry services linking Hong Kong island, with Kowloon, the New Territories and outlying islands were suspended.
Throughout the morning, cleanup crews struggled to remove fallen trees and branches from major roadways. Some flooding was reported in the New Territories.
The stock exchange reopened in the afternoon after authorities gave the all clear to go back to work.
“We haven’t experienced this for 10 years. I could hardly walk, the wind kept pushing me,” marketing research manager Alpha Yung, 28, said as she went to work in the almost deserted streets.
A landslide occurred in the upscale Peak neighbourhood but there were no casualties as a result, officials said.
After smashing through Hong Kong, Vincente headed into Guangdong Province.
Xinhua news agency said nine flights were canceled at Zhuhai Airport on Monday evening, with heavy rain falling in the region.
Train services in the region were also rescheduled because of the torm.
Additional reporting by AFP