Hong Kong flood aftermath: Shek O returns to normality as lone road into city reopens after landslide damage

The rustic community of Hong Kong’s Shek O returned to normality on Sunday as part of a lone road leading into the city reopened after it was damaged by landslides sparked by record rainfall last week.

People could be seen walking their dogs in the area and visiting restaurants for breakfast, although some had chosen to move elsewhere temporarily to prepare for work on Monday.

A retiree surnamed Wong said the situation was not as bad as expected. “I was worried about my daughter who had to go to school on Monday. We planned to leave Shek O if the road did not reopen by Sunday.”

Shek O resident Wong was prepared to relocate temporarily if the main road did not open. Photo: Yik Yeung-man

Bus services connecting Shek O and Shau Kei Wan resumed at 6am on Sunday after one of the lanes on Shek O Road reopened the night before at 9pm. But only single-deck vehicles were allowed to pass.

Traffic lane to Hong Kong’s Shek O reopens after landslides cut off area

Yim, a staff member at a beach equipment rental store, headed back from his North Point home to check his workplace on Sunday morning. “The ride to Shek O took 30 minutes longer than usual as the bus had to navigate roads with mud and water,” he noted.

The employee also said the store had lost 90 per cent of its usual weekend business due to the recent rainstorm and a typhoon last week.

Catering businesses in Shek O say sales have been affected by the storm. Photo: Yik Yeung-man

A resident, in her 50s and who only gave her name as Lau, was among those waiting for a bus into the urban areas. “I want to buy some fresh vegetables, meat and daily necessities,” she said.

“I hope the road will not be blocked when I head back. In case it is blocked, I am prepared to walk.”

Residents of luxury house in Hong Kong evacuated over landslide risk

Another bus passenger, Alice Nemcova, took her three-year-old son and husband to a friend’s place to stay until Wednesday.

“We are quite scared about the landslides and everything. We have a baby and we need to go to work,” the English teacher said.

Restaurant owner Lulu Lam is thankful for supplies that came in on Thursday. Photo: Yik Yeung-man

Lulu Lam, operator of a restaurant in Shek O, said it was business as usual at her shop in the past few days. “It’s lucky that we had stocks coming in on Thursday. We ran out of eggs early in the morning but then the food supply resumed.”

Lam estimated she had lost half of the usual weekend business due to the weather.

The Observatory at 6.25am on Sunday issued the amber rainstorm alert, the lowest on a three-tier system. It was cancelled at 8.55am.

Hong Kong wakes to submerged roads, landslides amid black rainstorm alert

Last Thursday, record rainfall triggered the highest black alert that stayed in force from 11.05pm till 3.40pm on Friday, sparking flash floods across Hong Kong.

During the rainstorm, two landslides occurred on Shek O Road, the only one that leads into and out of the village that is home to about 2,500 residents.

Some villagers with boats offered rides to hospitals and supermarkets, reportedly charging HK$100 for a trip, while others planned a one-hour hike over the mountains on Saturday to get supplies.

Internet connection was also crippled, resuming only at around 9pm on Saturday.

A makeshift pier set up for Shek O residents. Photo: Yik Yeung-man

Some residents, including 66-year-old Liu, who was among those offering boat services, complained the community did not receive any help until they raised concerns on social media. He said authorities reacted too slowly to evacuate residents.

“A lot of them had left in the morning on Saturday but the government only set up the temporary piers in the afternoon,” he said, adding he halted his boat service after the main road reopened.

“The government should act quicker next time as it’s about saving lives,” Liu said.

What went wrong with Hong Kong’s handling of floods from record rainstorm?

Authorities on Saturday evacuated more than 200 residents on boat. Some of them took refuge at temporary shelters, including the Wong family who decided to head back home on Sunday morning.

“The conditions were fine but I was not used to it and couldn’t sleep well,” the mother of the household said of the shelter. Her 14-year-old daughter noted the road had been reopened and she could head to school on Monday.

Another resident who only gave her surname Ngan had remained in Shek O to care for her pets. The clerk, in her 20s, said she had sought her company’s permission to work from home on Monday.

Some residents on Sunday morning were still seen leaving the area by boats arranged by others.


This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.