O. Subsequent mitigation projects initiated as a consequence of the disaster
A range of mitigation projects were begun directly as a result
of the experience of the Cyclone, including infrastructure protection, new
building programmes, and special training initiatives.
A special focus of mitigation activity was on infrastructure
protection and lifeline engineering. A change in policy within the
Ministry of Telecommunications resulted in a directive to ensure that new towers
and masts for microwave and other radio communications were designed to give
higher resistance to strong winds. Some attempts were also made to strengthen
existing communications towers, with extra stays, and better maintenance and
repairs. Telecommunications providers were also required to build in higher
levels of protection for ancillary equipment. A programme to upgrade and
maintain over-ground telephone poles was started. The storm reinforced an
existing trend to move away from microwave communications to fibre-optic and
satellite links. New telephone exchanges were also required to have higher
levels of protection against wind, debris, and flooding.
The Electricity Corporation made a few improvements, notably a
new design of transmission pylon, and an upgrading of circuit-breaker equipment.
Computerised control equipment in power stations and switching centres were
given some extra protection, mainly by shifting them to inner rooms in the
buildings. The standard for new buildings housing this equipment was improved.
Government buildings were not substantially improved. However,
those Provincial Offices housing Emergency Operations Centres were given
strengthened roofs and window frames, and the locations of the centres moved to
During repairs to existing hospitals, some attempt was made to
strengthen a core of inner rooms as a refuge. Roofing was strengthened (with
additional nails, ties, and beam connections). Buildings housing generators,
fuel, and water tanks were reinforced or reconstructed.
The design standard for new hospitals and clinics was improved
somewhat, to incorporate wind resistance and a stronger complement of fittings.
The opportunity to reconstruct or reinforce wind-resistant
schools was not followed through. The shape of these buildings - narrow, with
long spans - presented special problems, and upgrading was (erroneously)
perceived to be too expensive. An attempt was made in the national budget to add
provision to upgrade the level of regular maintenance (itself a useful measure
to sustain effective levels of mitigation). However, this was later quickly cut
Changes in Planning Laws
Within three months, the countrys legislature had approved
a change in planning laws to allow planning department to set conditions for
design and construction when issuing building permits. The National Homebuilding
Code focused on five elements: plan shape; construction materials; roof
construction (shape, materials, and fixing); walls; and windows and doors. This
attempt to strengthen building codes proved to be somewhat late, and was in any
case hard to enforce. Many structures were repaired or reconstructed within
weeks. There was a corresponding code for industrial buildings. The impact of
the legislative change was, in fact, greater on industrial plant than on
domestic or public buildings. Nonetheless, it was a useful starting point, and
its application was gradually extended over the next few years. A spin-off from
this effort was the training programme in cyclone-resistant construction
incorporated into training colleges for engineers, builders, and architects.
At the national level, the government and UNDP/UNDRO jointly
sponsored a Risk Assessment and Mitigation Project, which aimed to train
national and provincial planners in risk assessment and mitigation techniques.
These courses paid special attention to lifeline network analysis and
vulnerability assessment, within an overall economic context. Planners were
taught how to assess the economic implications of disruptions to regional
network systems, and how to plan large scale capital investments in ways which
minimised the likelihood of such disruption. They were also shown how to monitor