Hurricane Impact in the Caribbean
Hurricanes are not a rare occurrence in Caribbean countries. It is, in fact, the major natural disaster for this region. Only the recent Hurricane, Irma devastated 10 countries in the Caribbean and later the coastal states in the USA, leaving around 10 countries of this region with various levels of damages, which include but is not limited to ruined homes, collapsed structures, flooded areas, destroyed electrical and water infrastructures, etc. Millions of people ended up in temporary shelters and are considering to leave their hometowns for “safer” areas. It is estimated that the number of people affected by this hurricane from various countries will ultimately reach over ten millions.
Hurricane Irma has destroyed around 90% of the structures on the island of Barbuda leaving 50% of the population without homes. The same hurricane then damaged 10% of homes in Saint Kitts and Nevis as well as most of the infrastructures, buildings, and homes in the Bahamas. In Cuba, 2 million people were evacuated before hurricane by local authorities and ultimately 230 thousand people ended up in the temporal shelters due to the affected 63,678 houses and 1,700 school buildings by the hurricane. Out of the mentioned houses, 10,446 homes were completely damaged. Around 1,000 houses were destroyed in the Dominican Republic and 1,000 houses in Haiti was flooded. The hurricane did not spare the other territories in the Caribbean, leaving thousands of people homeless in British Antilles, French Antilles, Dutch Antilles, Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands.
Overcoming the impact of the hurricanes, like in case of any other natural disasters, means huge expenses for the government and the supporting donor organizations such as Red Cross. The people affected by the hurricane also bears enormous financial and emotional stress. Hence, prevention measures, being less costly in any similar cases, should be more carefully considered not only by the government but also by each inhabitant of the Caribbean countries.
How to hurricane-proof houses to prevent damage? First of all, it should be built with the latest construction materials and techniques which ensures resistance to various natural disasters to include earthquake and winds. For example, recently, it became known that the structural steel as compared to traditional wood used in residential buildings is very effective for withstanding the natural disasters. Steel frames are stronger and thus, structures that use steel for construction, are specially designed to cope effectively with the loads from the most rigid hurricane and earthquake. Steel is very ductile and flexible, so when exposed to extreme loads, it flexes rather than crushes. The structural steel is most effective when combined with concrete. Thus the construction techniques that use steel frames in contraction of buildings and infrastructure, can enhance disaster risk resilience in the Caribbean countries.
DRM Disaster-Proof homes for the Caribbean
One of the most advanced construction companies that use structural steel combined with concrete, in building houses for its clients, is DRM. DRM's Disaster-Proof houses are engineered to withstand the most severe hurricane-force.
Cast into the structural steel frame, DRM Metal Roof structures are strong and most resistant to impacts from flying debris. A strong roof and strong walls and the foundation remain attached to each other and function as a single unit, creating an envelope that keeps the wind out of the house.
To withstand the flood, which is a common secondary disaster that occurs during hurricane and earthquake, a waterproof membrane is bonded to the surface of the roof and wall to prevent water penetration.
Additionally, for addressing issues that may occur from the flood, DRM structures are a bit elevated and are built from materials that are light and easy to dry.
An extra layer of protection is created by the wall panels, which are not only designed to regulate the temperature or cut external sounds but also helps absorb most of the impact of high-speed projectiles, reducing the potential damage to the interior of the house.
DRM uses metal doors in constructing houses, which are designed to protect the house against hurricane-force winds and flying debris.
Even though the windows in the DRM constructed buildings look like standard windows, they are actually able to cut the sound by more than 60% due to being made up of two panes of tempered glass, separated. These windows have another advantage, that is excellent thermal protection and are able to shut out the sun's heat, as well as to cut out the sound just like the doors: by over 60%.
Find out more about our DRM Disaster-Proof Homes and our DRM Caribbean Modular Homes:
Hurricanes measured on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale may vary from Category 1 up to Category 5.
- Category 1 - winds range from 74 to 95 mph. Falling debris may strike people and older mobile homes could be destroyed.
- Category 2 - winds range between 96 and 110 mph. People and livestock may be injured or die due flying debris.
- Category 3 - winds range from 111 to 129 mph. Homes, apartments and industrial buildings may experience major damage, and the storm may uproot many trees that may block roads.
- Category 4 - winds range from 130 to 156 mph. Falling and flying debris poses a very high risk of injury. And some homes may totally collapse.
- Category 5 - winds are 157 mph or higher. People and pets may be in danger from flying debris, even indoors. Most mobile homes will be completely destroyed, and a high percentage of homes will be destroyed. Commercial buildings with wood roofs will experience severe damage, metal buildings may collapse and windows will nearly all be blown out.