28 May 2015

Vanuatu urged to cyclone-proof buildings

2:10 pm on 28 May 2015

An emergency management expert says Vanuatu needs to introduce cyclone proof building codes to avoid more big damage bills from disasters like Cyclone Pam.

Vanuatu faces a 450 million US dollar reconstruction bill after it was devastated by the cyclone two months ago.

Destruction at Dillions Bay. The cell phone tower for the are had been destroyed and the villagers had not had any word from the outside world for a whole week after the storm.

Photo: RNZI / Koroi Hawkins

Jane Rovins of Massey University says Vanuatu's development partners need to do more to help it prepare for disaster.

"We spend billions of dollars a year on disaster response and we spend pennies comparatively on disaster risk reduction when we know in the developing world that for every dollar we spend now we could save up to ten dollars in response if we did disaster risk reduction. So the system is there, we're just not practicing what we preach."

Dr Rovins says the increasing frequency and intensity of disasters across the world call for smarter development policies.

Looking over Mele Village outside of Port Vila, the river on the left burst its banks during the cyclone floodng the entire village and destroying all their food gardens.

A view over Mele village. Photo: RNZI / Koroi Hawkins

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