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Unprepared For Disaster

Bahrain/Gulf Region
Bahrain and other Gulf countries are dangerously unprepared for natural disasters and risk catastrophic destruction on land and at sea, according to a regional crisis centre. Ageing infrastructure would be destroyed if winds approaching the speed of Gonu entered the Gulf, something climate change is making increasingly likely to happen. "Cyclone Gonu (in June) was tracked at 160 knots - that is 320 kilometres an hour, and that's a lot. It slowed down, but when it reached Muscat it was still 120 to 130 knots. The installations in the Gulf - the oil rigs, the platforms, the life buoys and so on are only built to withstand 60 knot winds. Over Oman, the minimum wind speed of Gonu was 80 knots. They are only built to withstand that because we have never had such winds here before - the maximum wind was 50 knots at the time many of these installations were built and that was RARE. It would double the cost to install a platform able to withstand such winds. A platform here is much cheaper than those in the North Sea or in the China Sea near Vietnam because there they do have cyclones and such strong winds. "Here people have thought 'why double the price of the installation when we don't really need it?'...So the governments in the region have to change this to make things similar to that in the North Sea. It will be very costly. You are talking about billions and billions of dollars, if not trillions - a huge amount." Failure to take the threat seriously would be a mistake. There were fears that cyclone Gomu would destroy the port in the emirate of Fujairah and wreak havoc in Dubai. "We told them to prepare to get the ships out of the port and they got the big ships out. They were lucky because the cyclone moved away from Fujairah to the Iranian coast. If it had gone closer to Fujairah, the gantry cranes in the port would have been demolished..."If this were to hit a country like Bahrain, it would be an absolute mess. It would destroy everything - we are not prepared."
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