The Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) expressed great sorrow over the unfortunate incident in Stanley today (August 27) in which a lady passed away. The LCSD offered the deepest condolences to her family, and would contact them and try to render assistance.
The coral tree (Erythrina variegata) in question was over 100 years old and was on the Register of Old and Valuable Trees (OVTs). After the passage of Typhoon Nuri, the LCSD followed the standard procedures to inspect all OVTs in Hong Kong, including the coral tree last Saturday. During the inspection, the tree was not found inclined and its root system showed no sign of having been shifted by strong wind. No broken twig was found hanging on the tree and no potential danger posed by the tree was spotted.
Comprehensive investigation has to be carried out in an attempt to identify the cause of the partial collapse of the tree. In conjunction with the tree expert group, which consists of non-government experts with profound knowledge of trees, the LCSD will carry out the investigation.
The LCSD will remove the remaining part of the tree to clear any potential danger. The work will be completed as soon as possible. The LCSD has also commissioned immediate inspection of trees in the vicinity of the area, and will take prompt follow-up action if there are problems found. The inspection will be conducted throughout the night.
According to the existing mechanism, the LCSD will conduct detailed inspection of the OVTs once every six months. In between the six-month period, inspection will be conducted once every week to check if the trees have any obvious diseases, wounds or any manually inflicted injuries, such as damages caused by construction works.
The latest inspection of the coral tree was conducted on July 31 this year. The staff carried out sonar check on the structure of the tree trunk and looked for any pests and plant diseases. The examination result revealed the general condition of the tree was acceptable. The LCSD will study if the partial collapse of the tree was caused by the typhoon earlier.
The LCSD will pool resources to examine some 470 big trees on the OVTs Register comprehensively. The job is expected to complete in one month. The LCSD will try to identify contractors with the relevant technical skills and capability in the market for assistance so as to speed up the examination work.
Ends/Wednesday, August 27, 2008
A member of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department's Tree Team employing a tomograph for checking any cavity and decay in the remaining trunk of the tree in Stanley, part of which has collapsed.
Tree Team members checking whether the remaining part of the tree is structurally sound.
The collapsed branches are being removed.