Go to main content
Transcript of remarks by CE at media session before ExCo (with video)
     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Chief Executive, Mr John Lee, at a media session before the Executive Council meeting today (September 12):
Reporter: How ready do you think Hong Kong is doing with extreme weather and also the economic and property loss brought by floods? And the second question on night economy, is there anything that you can share with us now and how is the Government planning to promote this? What is the Government's role? And also how much economic benefits are you expecting? Thank you.
Chief Executive: In dealing with extreme weather, in my earlier conclusion, we have been doing what is expected under the present system. There are three areas of response. First of all is the alert, so that people would know about the coming of the extreme weather. The second is actually the response to the incident. And the third part is the recovery. I have  very quickly done a re-examination of the whole process, and I think for the response and for the recovery, the Government has been doing what is expected and required. I thank the government officials and civil servants to devote sleeplessly and endlessly to these two important missions.
     As regards the alert, early warning, as I have described, in regard to the prediction on rainfalls, particularly very unpredictable and always changing rainstorms, there's a limitation as to how at present scientific predictions can do. But I have also indicated that despite the limitations by science, we still have to think of other ways of helping people to get to know more information earlier and in greater detail. This will include increasing the risk factor when we consider sending out alert signals. And also, when we give out information, can we increase the content, the different combination of aspects, including such as, not just the level of rainfall, but maybe some stronger indication as to the direction where the rainstorm is heading? While there are limitations as a result of science, I believe if we think more from the citizens’ angle, where and what they want to make preparation, then we can improve the alert system. This is what I have asked the Government to do and we'll look at it seriously.
     It is important for us to know that because of global warming, the frequency of sudden and extreme weather condition may come more often than before. We will, of course, gather the experiences in this incident and make us be more thorough to plan so that communication equipment, the mobilisation system, and most importantly, the early alert system can be done even better as we progress into the future to deal with the rising frequency of such extreme weather.
     I think we also have to be quite rational in regard to some facts. Over the years, we have been improving our response to all these extreme weather, in particular, the drainage system. We have reduced the flooding black spots from over 100 to what now remains as four. That means we have a continuing exercise to reduce the risk of flooding. We will continue to do that and the Secretary for Development has informed the public that the relevant department is doing an even longer-term forward examination of how this should be done, and the review will probably finish some time next year.
     This is a reflection of the ongoing process of the Government in anticipation of the rising frequency of extreme weather. But extreme weather by its very name means that no matter how well we try to prepare, there may still be possibilities that the actual suddenness and the concentration of the weather condition, all focused within some very short period of time, making what we have been trying to do also a challenging point. What I mean to say is no matter how well we prepare, no matter what the Government wants to do, exactly in the same way as all governments in all cities try to do, the preparedness for extreme weather is on many folds, not just on ensuring that our infrastructure is regularly and constantly improved, but also in regard to our response so that we deal with the actual incident quickly and efficiently as well as during the recovery. As I have said, we will gain our experience in this incident and then we will improve where we think we can.
     In regard to night activities, as I have said, we are doing all our best to ensure that Hong Kong can get back to full normalcy. Overall, I think generally Hong Kong has already returned to our normal life although we still have to be careful about some flooding, some landslides, and there may be still some heavy rains or even thunderstorms. I think overall our alert system has been working since our recovery period. We just have to keep our guard up, so that we will be able to get ourselves prepared. We don't of course anticipate that rainfalls and thunderstorms will be of the same level of the century rainstorm we have just experienced, but we shouldn't just ignore the risk. We have to be careful as well.
     As we are now going back to normal life as much as we are, the night activities promotion, I think, should continue because we have recovered more or less from the rainstorm. And we should continue our normal life as much as we can, and economy is important, and our overall societal activities are important. We will continue to do it and we will make the announcement when we are ready.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
Ends/Tuesday, September 12, 2023
Issued at HKT 14:19
Today's Press Releases  

Audio / Video

CE meets the media