Now I'm based in another country but I have lots of relatives in the area that was in the path of the storm. Also, this estimate came from just one area (although the worst hit). We are a hardy people but to get this every year coupled with the stress of knowing your officials are stealing a fair bit of what could have been used to help... well, kind of pulls you down.
I'm not sure there's a whole lot you can do to 'damage proof' territory like this, other than simply abandoning outlying parts of it and hoping they act as a sea wall (and with a ~90m population, you also have the problem of where to put those people). Their options really are limited, especially in the face of record breaking weather events. Consider that if this storm had hit the Maldives it would almost certainly have wiped out the entire country, permanently.