Hong Kong retailers have suffered thousands of dollars in losses and are calling for compensation from the operators of shopping centres that were severely inundated due to the worst rainstorm to hit the city in more than a century.
A Post reporter on Saturday afternoon observed about a dozen workers cleaning the lower ground floor of Temple Mall North, a shopping centre in Wong Tai Sin that had been left partially submerged because of the record rainfall.
Ben Chan, who manages a garment shop on the ground floor, said his store had closed the entire day on Friday and suffered losses of HK$4,000 to HK$5,000 (US$510 to US$637) in average daily revenues.
Fewer patrons were shopping at the mall compared with past weekends despite the resumption of business a day later, he said, attributing the lower foot traffic to the uncertainty following the rainstorm and flooding, as well as a four-hour disruption of rail services at Wong Tai Sin MTR station.
“I’m concerned that the impact will linger on,” Chan said.
Joey Kwong, who works at a stall selling handbags, wallets and fragrance products, called for the mall’s operator to compensate the outlet about HK$8,000 in business losses.
The venue should also enhance its flooding prevention measures to ensure unaffected businesses above the lower ground floor could remain open following future weather events, she said.
“We should be compensated for our business loss,” Kwong said. “The mall should also step up flood prevention in case similar events occur in the future.”
Over at the Wan Tsui Shopping Centre, a mall in Chai Wan that also flooded during the rainstorm, staff were seen clearing up muddy floors. But about a dozen dirt-covered vehicles were left unattended at the site’s underground car park as of Saturday morning.
A vendor at a stall selling Chinese herbal medicine at the shopping centre said the outlet had suspended business until Friday afternoon, culminating in losses of about HK$3,000.
The stall employee, who only gave her surname as Yeung, also slammed the venue operator for not waiving rents, which stood at HK$1,600 a day, for Friday.
“Our rent should be cut when we suspend business under bad weather events like No 10 typhoons and black rainstorms,” she said.
Yan Tsui, an employee at another booth selling clothes, said the stall had remained closed until the black rainstorm warning was downgraded to an amber alert on Friday, but the shopping centre had remained largely empty.
She said the rainstorm had caused losses of a few thousand dollars for the business, on top of a longer-than-usual commute from her home in Kowloon due to muddy roads.
Hong Kong was lashed by torrential rain on Friday, forcing businesses, schools and offices to close after a night of chaos caused by flash floods that turned roads into raging rivers, swamped entire neighbourhoods, triggered landslides and sent more than 140 people to hospital.
Transport services to uphill Yiu Tung Estate in Shau Kei Wan were among those affected after the rainfall triggered a landslide that blocked buses from travelling along Yiu Hing Road.
Residents at the estate also said their water supply had only resumed at 3pm on Saturday after being cut off since 5pm the day before.
Residents, including elderly people, were earlier observed queuing up with buckets and bottles to use some of the water tanks deployed by the Water Supplies Department.
A resident surnamed Kwok said her daughter had not showered the night before and had been unable to cook either.
“It is not something that happens often. We tell ourselves to bite our lips and make it through,” she said.