Aug. 24 (UPI) — The weather observatory chief of China’s Macau region resigned on Thursday following criticism over the government’s response to Typhoon Hato, which killed at least 12 people.
Macau chief executive Fernando Chui Sai-on apologized for the city’s typhoon response Thursday and announced Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau Director Fong Soi-kun has resigned.
Chui expressed condolences to the families of those killed by the typhoon.
“Typhoon Hato is the strongest storm in 53 years and has caused massive damage. What is more distressing is that [several] residents are dead, and more than 200 residents were injured,” Chui said during a press conference.
Power was out for hours in the resort city’s casinos and government buildings. Schools and businesses were also closed for the day.
Officials said ferry services in the Pearl River delta were canceled, as were dozens of flights from Macau International Airport.
Typhoon Hato struck Macau and caused numerous power outages in the city of 270,000, which is across the mouth of the Pearl River from Hong Kong. Officials said the storm packed sustained wind speeds of up to 118 mph and gusts of up to 138 mph.
Hato, regarded as the region’s worst typhoon in five years, also prompted the evacuation of thousands of people in Guangdong on the Chinese mainland.
“These days we have faced a very big challenge … the destruction is catastrophic … In the face of the disaster, we have to recognize that what has been done was not enough. And there is room to improve. I apologize sincerely on behalf of the government,” Chui added.