Last year I blogged about Typhoon Hato and how much damage there had been. Well, this year we had Typhoon Mangkhut and it was so much worse, although weirdly no one died. We had been warned for about a week before it hit Hong Kong and we watched its path as it moved over the Philippines and into the South China Sea. The Hong Kong Observatory warned us that this would be one of the worst typhoons we had ever seen in HK and thus it turned out to be. For me, it was an annoyance more than anything. I was due to fly to Korea for work on the 16th of September, the day the typhoon would hit and the day before I was going to Shenzhen to see my first ever NHL game between Calgary and Boston. I had been so looking forward to the game, but as the typhoon came closer, I knew there was a risk that if I didn’t take an earlier flight, I may not be able to leave HK and would miss my job and my very rarely received paycheque. On Friday I finally decided I had to leave earlier and so moved my flight to Saturday. It turned out to be the last flight to Korea until Monday, so I made the right decision. A decision that was hard to swallow as I missed sports! My family however had to stay and when the typhoon hit, they messaged me, called me and sent photos and videos about what was happening. The whole building shook and my wife said she actually got seasick. Around HK, many buildings were damaged, there was a ton of flooding and the airport was completely shut down. I can’t even imagine how many people were affected by that alone. On top of all this, the most terrible thing to happen to HK was the loss of trees. According to the South China Morning Post, some 55000 trees were uprooted or destroyed. While HK has a lot of trees, the places where this was worst was in the many parks in the urban areas of Hong Kong. My own local park is a shadow of its former self as all the tall trees have vanished and our own street which was once lined with trees, now only has small bushes at the side. It is hard to imagine what will happen. I can’t see how they will replace the trees and I fear that we will be left with such a different landscape in our city where parks no longer provide shelter from the sun or privacy for people who want to get away from it all. The forests around us also have been hard hit and I worry about the animals and what happened to them during the storm. One HK wildlife website reported far fewer bulbuls in their area (the bulbul is one of the most common birds in HK). I can only hope this is only temporary.
When people first come to HK, they are often shocked by the amount of green we have. I love that about my city too, but every day I am out walking in the parks, I am saddened by how much has changed.