Hong Kong government implements enhanced measures for extreme weather recovery and landslide prevention

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File photo.

29th May 2024 – (Hong Kong) During a recent session at the Legislative Council, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government addressed concerns raised by Hon Stanley Ng regarding extreme weather events and landslides. The government emphasised its commitment to enhancing emergency preparedness, early warning systems, emergency response, and recovery efforts to minimise the impact of extreme weather on the city.

In response to the first part of the question, the government stated that it has implemented various measures to strengthen its response to extreme weather conditions. These measures include advance emergency preparedness, enhanced early warning systems, decisive emergency response actions, and speedy recovery efforts. The Chief Secretary for Administration led a press conference to explain these arrangements and emphasise the government’s priority of protecting people’s safety and ensuring a prompt return to normalcy.

Regarding landslide prevention, the government has been actively improving slope safety in Hong Kong through an effective slope safety system. Government departments responsible for the maintenance of man-made slopes conduct regular inspections and maintenance, with geotechnical engineers conducting inspections every five years. Private owners are also required to perform inspections and maintenance for slopes under their responsibility. The government’s Geotechnical Engineering Office (GEO) reminds private owners to complete inspections and necessary maintenance before the wet season.

The GEO has adopted a risk-based approach to strengthen slopes against inclement weather. Government man-made slopes with high and moderate potential impacts have been upgraded, and the Landslip Prevention and Mitigation Programme continues to address remaining slopes with moderate potential impacts. The GEO also conducts safety screening studies for private slopes, recommending maintenance works or issuing Dangerous Hillside Orders when necessary. For natural hillside catchments, the GEO investigates and implements risk mitigation measures based on potential impacts.

The government is taking a proactive and strategic approach to continually enhance slope engineering design standards and preventive measures. It aims to incorporate innovation and new technologies such as remote sensing and smart barriers, as well as utilise big data and artificial intelligence for improved landslide risk assessment capabilities.

Regarding the vulnerability of Siu Sai Wan to severe flooding under extreme weather, the government has been monitoring the situation closely. Previous flooding incidents in Siu Sai Wan were primarily caused by the rise in sea level due to storm surge and waves surpassing the coping level of seawalls. The government has updated design parameters in manuals for port works and stormwater drainage to account for climate change data and research findings. It has also conducted a coastal hazards study to identify high-risk residential areas and implement improvement works and management measures for public safety. A study on Shoreline Management Plan is underway to provide guidelines for coastal development and protection measures, as well as long-term strategies to combat climate change.

The government’s comprehensive approach to extreme weather recovery and landslide prevention demonstrates its commitment to safeguarding public safety and minimising the impact of such events on the community. By continually strengthening emergency response capabilities and implementing preventive measures, Hong Kong aims to enhance its resilience in the face of future extreme weather challenges.