Mgr Stephen Lee's message calls for collaboration to heal Macau after typhoon Hato (Video)
by Stephen Lee

The bishop of Macau urges affected people, government, volunteer organisations and charities to work together. The people of Macau have shown their generosity to the wounded, the needy, and seniors living alone. Schools will open after the clean-up. This “is not the time now for lamenting," he said Chinese soldiers are helping the clean-up.

Macau (AsiaNews) - Typhoon Hato, which hit Macau two days ago along with Hong Kong and Guangdong, left a trail of dead (nine), injured, damages, and flooding.

The authorities issued an apology for failing to prepare the city for the strongest typhoon in 53 years and the director of the local Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau resigned.

Almost 7,000 household out of 250,000 customers are still without power, and drinking water is still not available in some parts of the city. The authorities and the Catholic Church have set up some distribution points across the city to provide drinking water.

Some north-eastern neighbourhoods are still flooded. Several buildings owned by the Church have also been seriously damaged. China’s People’s Liberation Army troops have been deployed today to help residents and clean up the streets.

Here is Mgr Stephen Lee’s message to the population.

August 24, 2017

St Bartholomew

Dear brothers and sisters of Macau in Christ,

This past Wednesday, we have personally experienced one of the strongest typhoons (Hato) in Macau and are experiencing still the enormous damages and aftermath it has caused to different parts of the city.

May I, on behalf of the whole Catholic diocesan family, extend my heartfelt sympathies to all who have been affected by the typhoon. My heart goes to those who have lost their precious lives and those suffering from injuries during the floods and their beloved families, those whose homes, shops, and businesses have been inundated by water or affected by collapsed trees, people who have lost personal properties and in general all those who are beset by uncertainties over the future.

Moreover, I feel concerned about the conditions of many schools which are about to open their premises for the new academic year at the beginning of September. Many of their basements and ground floors were immersed in water with many facilities destroyed, including many documents and books. I can feel the anxiety of the principals and teachers who are in a panic when they countenance the damages done. I am also concerned with the serious hygiene problems and inconveniences due to the lack of electricity and water in these days, especially for the aged in our neighbourhood, the elderly who live alone, and patients suffering from chronic illnesses.

The day after the typhoon, we see not only municipal workers cleaning up the debris on the battered streets, we also witness the many volunteers in all parts of town tidying up their neighbourhood, shop owners offering food and water to the folks, catering also to the elderly living alone - these are our Macau citizens carrying out works of mercy with compassion and a generous heart.

May I call upon all the citizens of Macau, especially believers of Christ, along with people of all faiths and good will, to unite ourselves in prayer for the deceased and wounded, for their families, and for the numberless firefighters, police officers, medical staff, and the workers repairing water and electric facilities and those cleaning our streets. Together let us collaborate actively and constructively with government agencies and with various voluntary and charity organizations for the restoration and normal operations of the city as soon as possible.

As for the educational sector, our Diocesan schools are already in talks with the Government for a moratorium for the beginning of the school year so as to allow more time for the schools to clean up the wreckages caused by the typhoon.

It is not the time now for lamenting, putting the blame on anyone, or complaining about the inconveniences; rather, this is a time for us to show our mutual support for each other and to pledge ourselves to do all we can during this process of recovery. It is the time for the society of Macau to harness its real developmental potentials -- its engaged citizens, in partnership with all government departments, working towards an effective and realistic revision and implementation of the crisis management policies.

We entrust to Our Lord Jesus all who suffered and those who are still suffering. We firmly believe in God’s providence surrounding us, our God who is sharing the grief of so many at this time. We offer our love and support to all who have been affected by the typhoon and the floods, and to all who are working hard towards the rehabilitation of Macau. I pray that God’s consoling Spirit will sustain them in this hour of trial and fill them with hope to rebuild their dreams.

May God bless you and keep you all.

Yours sincerely in Christ,

+Stephen LEE

Bishop of Macau