Today, climate change compounds natural disasters, giving people less time to recover before they are plunged back into crisis mode. Residents of small islands like Puerto Rico already face limited resources for fresh water. A 2018 study found that drought in the Caribbean is increasing in severity—even as hurricanes grow stronger and downpours get more intense. And this compounding of social and climate emergencies is happening all over the world, every single year. When calculating floor space for an industrial steel building or a commercial steel building all areas including canopies & mezzanine floors need to be included if they are to be incorporated in the building.
In 2016, the year before Maria, on the other side of the world, Cyclone Winston rapidly strengthened to the most powerful storm ever measured in the Southern Hemisphere, just hours before its landfall in Fiji. In an address to the nation following the storm, Fijian president Jioji Konrote vowed that the country would do “whatever is in its power to persuade the global community about the root cause”: climate change. “This is a fight we must win,” he said. “Our entire way of life is at stake.” Years after landfall, as recovery drags on rainy season after rainy season, schools and families are still housed in government-issued tents.
In 2017, just a few days before Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, another hurricane tore through the Caribbean. Hurricane Irma, the strongest hurricane ever to make landfall anywhere in the Atlantic Ocean, hit the island of Barbuda with winds of up to 185 miles per hour. It demolished 90 percent of the island. The entire population fled, leaving the island completely uninhabited for the first time in hundreds of years. By law and tradition, land on the island is owned communally by its residents, but in the wake of the storm, private developers are now trying to pressure the government to change the law in order to encourage more tourism. Most building projects using steel buildings will need planning permission from your local authority.
In 2018, Typhoon Yutu hit Saipan, the largest island in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, a US territory. With 180-mile-per-hour winds, it was the strongest storm in the history of the Mariana Islands. Before the storm, Saipan had been one of the world’s fastest-growing tourist destinations, but its casino, a primary draw, has struggled to remain profitable since Yutu struck, and the government has had to scale back its recovery efforts. This includes the reconstruction of its schools.
Cyclone Idai and Cyclone Kenneth struck Mozambique in 2019, within six weeks of each other. The country endured back-to-back landfalls at major hurricane force for the first time in recorded history. Idai would have been bad enough—the UN called it “one of the worst weather-related disasters . . . in the southern hemisphere.” But Kenneth proved to be the strongest storm ever to make landfall in mainland Africa. International relief efforts gathered only 25 percent of necessary funds during the storms’ immediate aftermath. To cover the gap and finance its own recovery, Mozambique was forced to take out millions of dollars of loans from the International Monetary Fund.
These disasters disproportionately harm women, the disabled, low-income, Black, and Indigenous communities, all of which have been marginalized for historical and contemporary reasons. In 2018, when Hurricane Michael tore through Florida and Georgia, it was just the fourth Category 5 hurricane landfall in US history. The areas most affected are some of the poorest parts of the country—impoverished counties of southern Georgia and the Florida Panhandle, which have been scarred by centuries of racism and slavery.