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Typhoon Vicente: Dead Umbrellas

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A lost umbrella blown against railings in Causeway Bay during Typhoon Vicente

The damage was more than I’d expected as I crawled out of bed and went to take a look at what Typhoon Vicente had left Hong Kong to remember it by. There were trees blown over and branches everywhere; dustbins had been overturned and road signs knocked down. Hong Kong’s most powerful storm since 1999 certainly seemed to have done enough to warrant the first T10 warning issued in the territory for 13 years. But though Vicente may have won on points, Hong Kong had put up a decent resistance, and by the time daybreak came round, the city was still standing and slowly beginning to clear its head.

The T8 signal remained in force, which meant the streets were still largely deserted. There were few people about and little traffic. The city seemed a different place after the noise had stopped – after the buses had ceased their endless drone through the streets and that eerie post-storm silence descended.

It was in this relative hush that I strolled around Causeway Bay and Wan Chai, noticing first the larger damage done – the trees and the road signs that hadn’t made it through the night – then the smaller things – the soggy wind-blown clothes that would never find their owners and the umbrellas, dozens of them in various states of mangledness, torn from clinging hands as people rushed to escape the storm to come.

There were so many casualties lying around that I could have had 100 or more different photographs to show here. At times, it almost resembled a brolly Passchendaele such was the horror of it all. I may have slept through the worst (or should that be the best?) of it, but in the debris-strewn light of day, this brolly carnage seemed as good an image as any to sum up Typhoon Vicente’s brief but eventful visit to Hong Kong. The photographs that follow contain images some visitors may find disturbing.

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