PLA ‘saviours’ come to Macau’s rescue

2017-08-28 08:05     Comment:0

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Macau Garrison yesterday continued its work to help restore the typhoon-hit city to normal. After the army’s local garrison was deployed on Friday to help in the aftermath of the Typhoon Hato disaster, PLA soldiers yesterday removed fallen trees and displaced branches as well as other large pieces of detritus that blocked roads in Areia Preta district.

The government said in a statement on Friday morning that the central government had approved a request by Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On for the PLA Macau Garrison to take part in cleaning up the city.

About 1,000 PLA soldiers started to be deployed from the garrison’s Taipa barracks at 10 a.m. on Friday. Hundreds of PLA soldiers arrived at the Inner Harbour area, where they started to remove the massive piles of rubbish in various streets and alleys in the low-lying area hit hard by the typhoon which killed 10 and injured 244. Other PLA troops went to different areas in Taipa to remove fallen trees and broken branches.

It was the first time the local government had asked the PLA garrison for help. The move was in line with a national law on the setting-up of a PLA garrison in Macau, according to which the local government can request the garrison’s help to tackle a disaster.
Speaking to reporters yesterday afternoon after observing PLA soldiers removing uprooted tree trunks and branches in Areia Preta district, Central’s People’s Government Liaison Office Director Wang Zhimin said he hoped Macau people would use the “Macau Spirit” to speed up the city’s return to normal.

Wang also said he believed that Macau residents would be able to restore the city as soon as possible under the chief executive’s leadership and central government’s strong support.

The “Macau Spirit” concept has been mentioned in recent years by a number of state leaders. The concept refers to what is widely regarded as the typical characteristics of Macau people. It is generally understood that the typical characteristics of Macau people include favouring harmonious relationships with other people, loving their country and Macau, as well as being proactive while adopting a pragmatic approach to dealing with problems.

Pointing out that Hato was the strongest typhoon to have hit Macau in 53 years, Wang said the central government and President Xi Jinping were worried about the situation in the city’s affected areas. He said that Xi therefore swiftly approved Chui’s request for the deployment of troops of the PLA Macau Garrison to assist in the post-typhoon cleanup effort.

Wang noted that the PLA soldiers have been hard at work, suffered exhaustion and endured extremely foul smells caused by piles of soaked rubbish, adding that the troops have been working day and night. He said that combined with the efforts of the local security forces, local residents’ living and working conditions were being restored quickly as a result, adding that the PLA soldiers have been highly praised by Macau residents.

When asked by the media what the local government would need to do to review its response work to the Hato disaster, Wang said that he completely understood the pressure the local government has been under about its rescue work and disaster relief measures, adding that he expressed his respect for the efforts the local government has been making.

Wang also told about a dozen PLA soldiers that he appreciated their contributions to the city’s relief efforts in the aftermath of Hato. PLA Macau Garrison Commander Wang Wen also was there to encourage the soldiers.

After Hato hit Macau on Wednesday and the ensuing huge floods in different districts across the Inner Harbour area, as well as in Fai Chi Kei and Ilha Verde, piles of rubbish accumulated in streets and alleys there, particularly in Rua de Cinco de Outubro and Rua da Praia do Manduco and their surrounding areas. Local security forces personnel, street cleaners and rubbish collection personnel, as well as scores of volunteers, have been struggling to remove the stinking rubbish piles.

Residents in the affected areas have told the media that the PLA soldiers quickly cleared up most of the piles of rubbish. Most residents have praised and expressed gratitude for the PLA soldiers’ assistance. Many have described the garrison troops as “saviours” and “heroes” that came to the city’s rescue and helped it get back on its feet after Hato’s onslaught.

Meanwhile, the local government on Saturday asked the Guangdong government to deploy 20 water tenders to the city, to provide drinking water to residents who still do not have tap water in their homes, in addition to the government’s three tankers. The Guangdong fire service vehicles were still in service last night.

PLA soldiers yesterday remove trees uprooted by Super Typhoon Hato. Photo: Iong Tat Choi

Central People’s Government Liaison Office Director Wang Zhimin speaks to reporters yesterday after observing People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers removing trees uprooted by Typhoon Hato in Areia Preta district. Photo: MPDG

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