Macau recovery hampered after second major storm in five days

  • Tropical Storm Pakhar hit Macau on Sunday night
  • Casino industry set to lose $216 million after Hato

A Category 8 tropical storm crashed into Macau on Sunday night, bringing winds of 119 km per hour and a further 162mm of rain onto a region already devastated by Wednesday’s Typhoon Hato.

Typhoons rock Macau, disrupting casinos in the process.
Typhoons rock Macau, disrupting casinos in the process.

Tropical Storm Pakhar made landfall as rescue workers and clean-up crews were working to contain the effects of the previous storm, making conditions riskier for the military personnel and volunteer crews who have pitched in to restore the city.

Macau’s casino district has suffered heavily from the floods and power cuts which came with the Category 10 typhoon, and Sunday’s bad weather hasn’t made things any easier for operators and staff.

Gambling district hit hard by double storm

The typhoon which struck on Wednesday was the worst since 1968, according to local reports, and it was recorded as a very rare Category 10 storm – the most intense known to meteorologists. Casinos reported flooding across casino floors and some were forced to close due to power loss – though others remained open with the help of backup generators.

Estimates show that the cost of Typhoon Hato for casinos could reach $216 million.

This figure does not factor in the further damage caused on Sunday by Tropical Storm Pakhar; insurers and contractors will need to reassess the damage and come up with a new figure in the coming days. Meanwhile, volunteer crews and China’s People’s Liberation Army will continue the ongoing clean-up and recovery efforts, aided by state and public funds.

Casinos lead the way in rebuilding Macau

The local land-based casinos have been instrumental in getting Macau open for business again, with several leading operators pledging $7.4 million each in relief funding. Thousands of staff and construction workers were made available as flood recovery workers by Melco in the aftermath of Wednesday’s storm, and company CEOs from Macau’s casinos have stated publicly that workers and their families will be supported during the devastating floods.

Ten people are known to have died in Macau as a result of the floods, and hundreds of homes and businesses have been damaged or destroyed across the city. Funding from the casinos will be used to help those people, and to get the district up and running again.

Most casinos have already reopened, and The Post reports that hotels are cutting room rates to encourage tourists back. Electricity and water have been restored to many casino properties, and visitors are starting to return to the tables this week.

The double storms have highlighted Macau’s vulnerability, but also its resilience. Despite an onslaught of severe weather, the gambling market has managed to keep business ticking over – and thanks to exceptional gaming revenues in 2017’s first half, the region should be able to weather the losses caused by Hato and Pakhar this week.

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