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Emergency response plan for flooding in Tai O

     The Government has worked out an emergency response plan in the event of serious flooding in Tai O.

     The plan was prepared by the Islands District Office (IsDO) in consultation with relevant departments.

     Speaking at a press briefing today (April 28), Islands District Officer Mr Byron Lam said in light of the situation arising from the serious flooding in Tai O last September, the Administration considered it necessary to establish an emergency response plan to help Tai O residents when serious flooding was imminent during tropical cyclones.

     The emergency response plan consists of three parts: an early flood alert; evacuation and rescue; and emergency relief for the affected residents.

     Mr Lam said the serious flood alert system, especially designed for Tai O residents, would be activated when the Hong Kong Observatory (HKO) forecast the sea level of Tai O would increase to 3.3 mCD or more in the coming few hours during a tropical cyclone.

     The HKO would issue an early alert to relevant departments/parties and village representatives by SMS.

     "Upon receipt of the early alert, relevant government departments will mobilise their resources for a possible evacuation, and rescue and relief efforts while village representatives will help disseminate the information so that residents can be well prepared for the flood and take refuge in safer locations," Mr Lam added.  

     The evacuation and rescue plan will be triggered when the actual seawater level in Tai O reaches 3.0 mCD (the level at which seawater  begins to flow back and cause flooding in the low-lying areas in Tai O), and the Drainage Services Department (DSD) will issue a real time flood alert via telephone messages to all departments/parties and village representatives concerned.

     "Upon receipt of the real time flood alert, the Police, Fire Services Department (FSD), Civil Aid Service (CAS), social workers and village representatives will persuade residents in the low-lying areas to move and help evacuate them, if required, to temporary shelters or safer locations.

     "The IsDO, FSD, the Police and other concerned departments will jointly set up an emergency command centre at the Tai O Rural Committee office to co-ordinate the evacuation, rescue and emergency relief efforts," Mr Lam added.

     Two temporary shelters, one in the Tai O Rural Committee office and one in former Wing Chor Primary School, will be opened for residents in need of temporary accommodation.

     Meanwhile, the IsDO and relevant government departments today conducted a drill in Tai O to test the government's emergency response plan.

     "The drill has also provided a good opportunity for staff concerned to practise the response procedures and identify areas for fine-tuning," Mr Lam said.

     The exercise consisted of two sessions.  The first part involved actual evacuation and rescue while the second part was a table-top exercise on the emergency relief efforts offered to the affected residents by the concerned departments.

     Seven government departments, namely the IsDO, Police, FSD, CAS, HKO, DSD and the Social Welfare Department took part in the evacuation and rescue drill while the table-top exercise involved 20 departments and concerned parties.

     Director of Home Affairs, Mrs Pamela Tan; Director of Operations, HK Police Force, Mr Henrique Koo; Chief Fire Officer (HK), FSD, Mr Chan Chor-sing; and Assistant Director, DSD, Mr So Yam Tat, observed the drill in Tai O.

     Mr Lam said: "The drill was smoothly run. Observations and suggestions for improvement arising from the drill will be submitted to an inter-departmental meeting for deliberation."

     The IsDO has distributed leaflets on the government's response plan and guidelines on "do's and dont's" during a serious flood to Tai O residents for promotional and educational purposes.

     On the long-term flood preventive measure in Tai O, the Civil Engineering and Development Department plans to build a river wall along Wing On Street next to Yat Chung.

     As for the slope repair works in Tai O, all the emergency repair works have been completed while three long-term projects will be completed before the end of 2009.

Ends/Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Issued at HKT 18:52


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