Micro, small and medium sized businesses affected by typhoon Hato in Macau have already begun to receive a subsidy of 50,000 patacas (US$6,250) to help them resume activity as quickly as possible, the Macau Economic Services Department (MES) indicated.
The amount of the subsidy was raised from 30,000 to 50,000 patacas by decision of the Macau government after verifying the problems faced by such companies and peddlers, a mainstay of the territory’s economy.
The first cheques were delivered on Monday 28 August. MES had received more than 3,500 support requests by that date, of which 334 were approved, amounting to 10.02 million patacas.
The MES announced on the occasion that it was working with various public services of the Secretariat for Economy and Finance to make every effort to process the aid requests, seeking to progressively award other credits as soon as possible.
Personnel from that department, together with other public services and trade associations, have been visiting various districts of Macau to learn in situ the problems faced by affected companies and to help micro, small and medium sized businesses submit the aid requests and offer them technical support.
Typhoon Hato was the most violent to hit Macau in the last 18 years. It left 10 people dead and 244 wounded and a trail of destruction in housing and businesses. Also, nearly 10,000 trees in the territory were totally or partially destroyed.
The typhoon’s effects include fallen trees, scaffolding, fences and advertising signs, broken windows and various flood zones, namely areas of the Inner Harbour and Barra, as well as damage to buildings.
By last Tuesday the territory’s waste collection company (CSR – Companhia de Sistemas de Resíduos) had collected more than 11,000 tons of garbage in the 32 square km comprising the peninsula and islands, a territory that usually produces a daily average of 800 tons of garbage.
Hundreds of volunteers and a thousand soldiers from the Macau garrison of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army have participated in disaster-response work, removing rubbish and debris.
This was the first time the Macau government requested aid from the Macau garrison. The government spokesperson said after the soldiers returned to barracks that local population was impressed and thankful for the help removing fallen trees and the huge amount of other debris that the typhoon spread on the city’s streets.
The Macau Foundation also decided to provide assistance to those who have to carry out “consolidation work” on damaged doors and windows, under the “special assistance plan for damage caused by the passage of typhoon Hato”. The decision resulted from a meeting between the institution’s president and the Association of Electro-technical and Mechanical Engineers.
“Residents who want to request a subsidy for such work should keep the respective payment receipts and justifying photos of the damage and repair work. People who suffer damage in their housing should use specialised technicians or companies to do the necessary work in order to ensure its quality and safety,” indicates the statement from the Macau Foundation.
Banco Nacional Ultramarino, one of the territory’s two issuing banks, announced the launch of a programme to grant loans to small and medium sized enterprises and private individuals, with subsidised interest rates and a 30-month grace period.
Other Macau institutions such as gaming concession companies or Companhia de Telecomunicações de Macau have either made donations to help all those affected (the case of CTM) or helped repair telecommunications equipment damaged by the typhoon.
Also, Portugal’s consul-general in Macau and Hong Kong announced on Wednesday that he was contacting Portuguese companies affected by typhoon Hato to help channel requests for assistance provided by the territory’s authorities.
“We’re identifying the cases of Portuguese small and medium sized companies, many of them with partners who don’t speak Portuguese, to ascertain what we can do to channel those cases so they can be smoothly processed by the Macau Foundation,” said consul-general Vítor Sereno at the end of a meeting with about 20 Portuguese and Portuguese-origin companies. (Macauhub)