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 Windstorm ravages Lagos streets, wrecks 400 buildings

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eddyvic
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PostSubject: Windstorm ravages Lagos streets, wrecks 400 buildings   2015-03-11, 03:53

No fewer than 400 buildings have
been wrecked, while thousands of
residents are rendered homeless,
after a windstorm ravaged some
streets in Papa Ashafa/Dopemu in
the Orile-Agege area of Lagos State.
The incident was said to have
happened around 4.30pm on
Monday.
It was gathered that cars parked on
the roads were damaged as
concrete electric poles fell on them
in the gale that swept through at
least 20 streets.
Our correspondent, who went
round some of the streets,
observed that private and public
school buildings in the area were
damaged.
According to witnesses, some
pupils of the schools escaped death
by a whisker.
A church building on OpeOlu Street
was uprooted and dumped on
another residential building.
Many of the residents were sighted
by our correspondent lamenting
their losses and said they slept on
the road with their children.
Some of the affected streets
include Abibatu, Opeifa, Fabowale,
Kushoro, Opeolu, Bakare Opesha,
Sura Ogunmakin, Igbayilola,
Akintunde, Alafia, Sadiku, Ebun,
Ayeni, Oyewole, Adewunmi Adebiyi,
Oyewole Close, Oyewole Road and
Alafia Close.
A resident on Opeolu Street,
Bridget Isiaka, said she was feeding
her baby when the incident
happened.
She said, “I saw that something was
moving the bed and my baby and I
was wondering what was going on.
When I saw the storm, I shouted for
help. The roof was lifted up by the
storm.”
A trader, Mrs. Balogun Labake, told
PUNCH Metro that the windstorm
had destroyed all her property.
“I saw the thing rolling towards us
with full force. It pulled the bed
from underneath us. As we were
about running away, the force
blocked us from going out. It
destroyed all our property and
damaged the roofing sheets,” she
said.
A resident on Abibatu Street, Mrs.
Olayemi Olawode, said since she
arrived in the area more than 20
years ago, she had never witnessed
such disaster.
Olawode said although many
houses on her street were affected,
she was lucky that the storm only
took away a few of her roofing
sheets which she had replaced.
But the same was not true for Mrs.
Nike Olusanaya, a civil servant
resident on Okubanjo Street.
PUNCH Metro on Tuesday saw that
the disaster had rendered the
mother of four children homeless
as her single-room apartment was
blown apart.
“We have nowhere to stay again.
We have been carrying our loads
around and begging people to
house us. The windstorm threw the
ceiling of our room far away. I slept
outside with my kids,” she said.
Modupe Akinfenwa, a tailor, said
she was locked out by fellow
tenants in the stampede that
followed the disaster.
PUNCH Metro observed that about
four electric poles had been pulled
down on the road and part of the
area was cordoned off for safety by
the police.
One of the electric poles was said
to have crashed into a nursery and
primary school in the area, Geedee
Montessori Schools.
The headmistress of the school, Mrs
Ayeni Oluremi, told our
correspondent that the more than
200 pupils of the school held one
hour thanksgiving on the assembly
on Tuesday.
She said, “The incident happened
exactly 4.30pm. The children closed
from school at 4pm, and after that,
they gathered outside.
“The school bus was coming to pick
them in groups. There were still 12
of them remaining when it began
to drizzle and suddenly, the
asbestos of the school began to fall
off. I took them inside. Just then, I
saw the wind snapping the poles
and tearing the cables apart.
“It was a few minutes after that that
the school bus arrived to take
them. The pole fell where we
usually park the bus. It was God. We
celebrated this morning and spent
one hour on the assembly.”
Another private school, Al-Baraka
Schools on Oshundairo Street had
some parts of the buildings
damaged, while a public primary
school, Oyewole Primary School on
Oyewole Road had its wall broken
down.
State Junior High School and
Christfield Comprehensive College,
both on Oyewole Road had their
roofing sheets blown away.
Tragedy was averted on Opeolu
after an Assembly of God Church
structure atop a residential
building was careened away to
another building opposite it.
A tailor living in the house where
the church was, Mr. Segun Toyin,
said, “There were five of us around
that time. My four friends, who
were outside, suddenly ran into the
shop and said there was an
earthquake. A few minutes later,
the wind took off the building.”
A lodger in the house where the
church building landed, Ebenezer
Omileke, said he believed it was a
hurricane that ravaged the area.
He said the church structure first
landed on the roof of their building,
before the storm lifted it to the
store behind the building.
Our correspondent observed that
carpenters in the area had a busy
day fixing the roofs of some of the
buildings.
One of the carpenters, Ayo Quadri,
said the storm had improved his
business.
He said, “This is the third house I
will be repairing today. Although
nobody prays for something bad,
but this has improved business for
us.”
It was learnt that some officials of
the Lagos State Government came
to the area to assess the level of
damage. They were said to be led
by the Commissioner for Special
Duties, Dr. Wale Ahmed and the
Commissioner for Transport, Mr.
Kayode Opeifa.
The South West Coordinator,
National Emergency Management
Agency, Bandele Onimode, advised
residents of the state to build
houses to standards.
He said, “What happened here was
not a human-induced disaster; it
was natural. The storm was only
passing through its normal route.
“The government can only ensure
that houses are built to standards
and when new houses are going to
be erected, people should assess
the environment to ensure that
buildings are not facing the
direction of wind.”
The General Manager of the Lagos
State Emergency Management
Agency, Femi Oke-Osanyintolu, said
the state government had opened
a relief camp to temporarily
accommodate some of the
residents.
He said, “The governor has directed
that the relief camp at Igando be
opened to those that are displaced.
“The camp is to provide an
alternative, instead of sleeping
outside.”
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