Indonesian nationals faint with heatstroke at Hong Kong event

Indonesian maids replenish themselves as they celebrate the 70th anniversary of Indonesian National Day under hot weather at Victoria Park, Causeway Bay. Photos: Nora Tam

At least nine required medical help today as Indonesia Independence Day revelers gathered in Victoria Park in the midst of a heat wave triggered by approaching Typhoon Goni. As of 3pm, paramedics had transported two women to hospital for treatment, and seven others fell victim to heatstroke-related symptoms. The Victoria Park festivities featured Indonesian singers performing songs to a densely packed standing audience under a canvas canopy. For the first Sunday since Indonesia’s National Day on August 17, over 1,000 participated in the celebration despite the heat.

Indonesians at the event said today was the hottest Independence Day celebration in several years. “The heat is very serious today,” said participant Annie Setyo. “There have always been so many people [here each year in Victoria Park], but I have never seen so many needing medical help.” A staff member with the event organiser said in light of the hot weather, it had cut short the celebration by two hours, finishing at 3pm.

In light of Typhoon Goni, which is currently nearing Taiwan after lashing the Philippines, the Hong Kong Observatory has issued the Very Hot Weather Warning since 6.45 am today.  Triggered by a continental airstream – or air masses blanketing a large region – heat will rise to 34 degrees Celsius across Hong Kong until Wednesday, potentially worsening air pollution in the city, the Observatory said. As of 3pm today, 37 degrees Celsius was recorded in Sheung Shui while temperatures in most parts of Hong Kong rose above 32 degrees Celsius.