Community groups and residents have urged Chief Executive Carrie Lam to announce a day off work on Monday to allow time for the city to recover from the damage wreaked by Super Typhoon Mangkhut.

A woman uses her umbrella as she walks past collapsed bamboo scaffolding hanging from a building during Super Typhoon Mangkhut in Hong Kong on September 16, 2018. Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP.

Earlier on Sunday, the Education Bureau announced class suspensions at all schools on Monday, regardless of whether any Tropical Cyclone Signal or Rainstorm Warning Signal was still in force. The bureau said that it would take time to clean and repair community facilities and it was necessary to ensure student safety.

Flooding at the Education University of Hong Kong. Photo: Handout.

Ten universities, the Academy for Performing Arts, and several other higher education institutions also followed suit by suspending classes.

Photo: Dan Garrett.

In a press release and on Facebook, Lam thanked public officers for their work to reduce the damage caused by heavy wind.

Lam said 200 residents, including first responders, were injured during the storm. There were 60-odd flooding cases, of which seven were severe. Many houses, shops and buildings were damaged, and electricity and water supplies were severed at some locations.

Photo: Dan Garrett.

“I give my sympathies to affected residents, and I hope injured residents and rescuers recover as soon as possible,” she said, adding that the public should still be careful as bad weather may continue for some time.

Flooding in Tai O. Photo: Handout.

Lam said the government would clean streets, clear fallen trees and objects, and repair damaged facilities. She urged employers at private institutions to made flexible arrangements as employees may face difficulties in returning to work.

Photo: Dan Garrett.

But several civil and community groups, such as Tin Shui Wai New Force and 80s Momentum, have urged public and private institutions to allow workers either not go to work, or to work remotely on Monday.

Photo: HKFP/Tim Hamlett.

The groups said it would take time to remove blockages on roads and railways. They said that since classes were to be suspended, a lot of children would be left at home alone if their parents went to work.

Photo: Dan Garrett.

They urged the government to arrange for civil servants who are not engaged in emergency services to stop work or work remotely on Monday – and the same for all public and private institutions – so that there would be time to repair transport facilities, to relieve pressure on traffic, and to take care of children staying at home.

超強颱風「山竹」開始遠離本港,天文台已經改掛八號風球,大家都舒一口氣,不過仍須保持警覺,唔好咁快鬆懈。我感謝各界早作防備、市民齊心應對,加上各政府部門同事同埋公共機構嘅努力,總算安然度過。我已要求保安局局長以足夠嘅人力物力做好善後工作,務求盡快令城市回復正常運作。#超強颱風 #山竹 #保持警覺 #注意安全 #林鄭月娥 #CarrieLam

Posted by 林鄭月娥 Carrie Lam on Sunday, 16 September 2018

Hundreds of residents also made similar points under Lam’s Facebook post.

Photo: Dan Garrett.

“It is not because we don’t want to go to work, but the situation outside is so poor that it is out of control,” one said. “The traffic issue tomorrow could paralyse Hong Kong completely – it would be better to have one more day off to prevent chaos.”

Photo: Tim Hamlett.

“Mrs Lam: I live in Shatin, but the East Rail Line is severely damaged. Will there be trains tomorrow? Consider safety issues – can we even go to work tomorrow?” another said.

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.