Typhoon Nida (Photo : Accuweather)
Less than a month after the U.N. Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled that South China Sea islands belong to the Philippines and not China, it seems nature could undo what China did.
Quartz reported that the artificial reefs, where China built infrastructure and refused to turn over to the Philippines despite the tribunal’s ruling, are in danger of being washed away by Typhoon Nida. The typhoon dumped more than 300 millimeters of rain in the Philippines over the weekend, soaked Hong Kong and just made a landfall in China.
Even without a storm, a corner of an island China built on top of the Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratlys had to be repaired after a portion collapsed into the sea, according to satellite imagery. Normal weather also subjects the reefs to being hit by wave energy, while rising sea levels could result in the damaged reefs failing to make natural adjustments which weakens anything built on top of the artificial reefs.
Experts warned a super typhoon with winds of up to 185 kph or stronger and waves of six meters could wipe out the artificial reefs or cause severe damage. It is the first typhoon season for many of the artificial reefs in the South China Sea.
Nida is forecast to turn into a Category 2 hurricane before it makes a landfall on mainland China. In Hong Kong, CNN reported that winds of 145 kph hit parts of the city but no major damage was reported. But the bad weather caused in cancellation of more than 180 flight and suspension of bus, tram and ferry routes.
On Monday night, Hong Kong’s Observatory issued its first No. 8 warning signal for 2016. Much of the city is expected to be closed through Tuesday.
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