Saturday 20 February 2010 | Published in Regional
The initial cyclone Pat assessment report on building damages on the island of Aitutaki has helped authorities identify the families in most need of emergency housing equipment including tarpaulins and tents.
The initial building damage survey was conducted by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Planning, Red Cross, Telecom Cook Islands and Public Health and results were released in a report on February 15.
The survey found that of the 762 buildings on the island, 388 sustained damages ranging from minor to being completely destroyed.
The report states that the majority of structural damage assessed was associated with older constructions (over 25 years).
The older structures were primarily built of lower standard and were more likely to have deteriorated components such as corrosions, rot and insect attack which lead to the reduction of strength in the building.
The report goes on to say that from the assessment it was clear that the majority of the building failures was the roof structure.
The failures seem to occur at the purlin and rafter connections whereby the roofing sheetings were still attached to the purlins.
The report recommends that for the rebuilding or upgrade of all damage buildings – the fixings from the roofing sheeting/purlin/rafter/wall/foundations, and not just from roofing sheets to purlin or purlin to rafter, needs to be addressed.
Inspection of structural element to all buildings especially in the tie down systems will need to be checked that they are structurally sound and will continue to perform in future cyclone(s).
There may be a need to review the design wind speed forces, of the Cook Islands Building Code with the likelihood of newer buildings to be designed to higher wind speeds as experienced by Cyclone Pat.