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Home >  BULLETINMacau counts cost of storm damage
Macau counts cost of storm damage
Typhoon Hato left Macau stricken, but also showed the resilience of its people as resorts and the community pulled together

29 Sep 2017

The worst natural devastation to grip Macau in recent history shocked the territory, but it also brought out the best in people – from casino and construction workers, to the top brass in the resorts of Cotai, and the Chinese troops called on to help in the clean-up operations.

Event planners and venue operators in the Chinese territory are now looking forward to festivals that will highlight Macau’s attractions beyond gaming; along with this comes new openings that will form a whole new dimension to Cotai.

Typhoon Hato resulted in an estimated US$1.4 billion in economic losses to Macau after it hit on August 23. With 16 lives lost and a massive clean-up operation underway, the region faced more havoc with the approach of severe tropical storm Pakhar the following weekend.

Buildings were left without water and electricity for up to three days following Typhoon Hato, with events including the annual fireworks festival and a tenth anniversary gala for the Venetian cancelled.

PLA soldiers were called from their barracks while resort operators Sands China and MGM joined forces to set up a relief fund for small and medium-sized businesses to recover from the typhoon damage.

Melco, which runs Studio City and City of Dreams, announced a US$3.6 million cash fund to support the employees, the community and Macau’s restoration efforts.

Work was halted at Melco’s new Morpheus hotel tower (main picture) so that all 2,000 construction workers could join government-led restoration efforts through the weekend across the city’s worst-affected areas. Melco volunteers were also mobilised to help clear debris, distribute bottled water and support the immediate needs of the public.

MGM Cotai’s opening date has been put back to the end of January 2018 due to damage caused by Typhoon Hato.

Immediately following the typhoon, MGM Macau conducted a survey of more than 220 of its suppliers to assess the damage brought about by the typhoon and came up with a relief plan. “Through the SME Relief Programme, we are able to provide immediate assistance to our vendors, and continue in assisting them in the long-run of a sustainable recovery,” said Grant Bowie, MGM China CEO.

During the week of Typhoon Hato, MGM’s Golden Lion Volunteer Team joined forces with trade union and community groups to distribute meal boxes and water to senior citizens. They also visited old people’s homes in some of the worst-affected parts of the city and are continuing efforts to clear debris in scenic parts of Coloane to restore Macau’s areas of rural and coastal scenery.

“A majority of Macau has been impacted by this typhoon, but it has brought about the united spirit of Macau residents with their swift actions and selfless effort to help each other,” said Bowie.

“Macau is the community where we do our business and our employees live, it is crucial for MGM to join hands and unite with the community. With our ethos of ‘Creating a Better Macau,’ we will not only focus on rebuilding Macau in the short term, but more importantly, the sustainable recovery of our local community in the long run.”

Sands China also announced measures to support its SME vendors as they counted the cost of the storms. Measures include faster payment processing and upfront payment to help with cash flow, logistics support and assistance with storm damage repairs.

Lawrence Ho, chairman and CEO of Melco Resorts & Entertainment, said: “This is the worst typhoon Macau has seen in over half a century.

“Melco, and I personally, are 100 per cent committed to sharing our collective resources to help the city and its people arrive at a swift and total restoration of order, including our own employees.”

Macau Government Tourist Office gave travel operators an all-clear to recommence group visits from September 2, with the China National Tourism Administration and MGTO’s counterparts in Shenzhen and Hong Kong being briefed on progress.

Victoria Fuh, vice president, resort sales, for MGM in Macau, told MIX that though severely hit by the storm, the aftermath saw a “great community spirit” emerge with people uniting to help with the clear-up efforts and set their sights on events and festivals that are popular with visitors and locals alike.

These include MGM Macau’s Oktoberfest, which has become a popular calendar event in town, festivals include the 64th Macau Grand Prix, November 16-19, the International Film Festival in December and sports events.

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