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Cyclones and the Damage they Cause

Cyclone is another natural disaster that affects people and property to a large extent.

A cyclone is a large-scale storm system with heavy rain and winds that rotate counter clockwise in the northern hemisphere and clockwise in the southern hemisphere around and toward a low-pressure centre.

 During a cyclone


Satellite image of a cyclone


Like in floods, buildings are most affected during cyclones

The buildings that are most vulnerable to damage during a cyclone are small buildings, huts and lightweight structures.

People living on low islands and low-lying coastal areas are most affected during a cyclone. The speed of the wind is maximum when it crosses the coastline.

Effect of a cyclone on buildings

  • Uprooted trees may fall on buildings and cause damage
  • Roofs and lintels may get damaged due to the force of the wind
  • Windows, parapets, fences and compound walls can get damaged if they are not firmly fixed

Cyclones can affect us in other ways also. Electricity cables and transmission towers can be damaged causing immense hardship to people. Live electricity wire on the road can prove to be a death trap to people walking on the road. Sign posts on the roads can be damaged.

The Aftermath of a Cyclone

Protection Measure for Damage to Buildings

* One should select an appropriate site to build a house in cyclone prone areas. A site that is above the inundation level will be suitable.

* The shape of an individual building should be either circular or polygonal. Rectangular or square shapes are not suited. A symmetrical building with a compact plan is most suited to withstand cyclones.

* As cyclones are accompanied by torrential rain inundation is inevitable. So houses should be elevated. Houses should be constructed on stilts or columns.

* Doors and windows should have strong closing and locking systems to with stand the force of the wind. Openings just below the roof should be avoided.

* Glass panelling can be avoided in buildings situated in cyclone prone areas. If there are glass panels they have to be protected with paper strips or metallic mesh pasted outside The size of the panels can be small so the damage is minimum.

* The roof is the most vulnerable part of the building during a cyclone as it is at a higher level and exposed to the wind. Roof projections should be minimal. A pyramidal roof is most suited in cyclone prone areas.

 House with a pyramidal roof


The damage to life and property during cyclones can be minimised having a shelter belt plantation across the wind direction in coastal areas.



Coastal shelter belt plantation

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