The last couples of weeks have witnessed a series of events that have put the environment at the core of affairs in town. With the typhoon season approaching, expectations are high to see what the government will do in the little time that still remains before the tropical storm season begins.
After the visit of specialists from the disaster prevention team of the World Health Organization, it was time for the government to roll out its plans and intentions for preparing the city for the adverse conditions that may hit hard again.
China is providing a lot of technical and scholarly support, with the study the Macau government presented last week having been conducted by mainland universities and research centres. For that reason, the local government may give it credibility – if only because the local capacity to conduct this type of research is not as fully developed.
Will local authorities have time to implement and take the necessary measures to cope with the force of nature if violent tropical storms hit the city as hard as they did last year? We would like to think so. But given the past history of expediency on the part of the Macau government – think about construction of the Islands Medical Complex or the LRT – the odds are not on its favour.
At least, we should assume or expect that the Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau will act more promptly and with more authority this year, and impose, with no hesitation or restrictions, instructions that should be followed as an indisputable rule by the government, corporations, and civil society alike.
Hopefully, the casino lobby will be more conscientious this time, after last year’s typhoon left them hanging with no water, no lights, and no gambling.
People were hasty to condemn the weather bureau’s chief after Hato, but very few directly pointed the finger at the Civil Protection Office, under the command of the Secretary for Security, Wong Sio Chak, and to how unprepared it was for coping with the whole situation, which put the city into nearly complete shut down for several days afterwards.
It is about time to act.