31 October 2012

Nigeria: Hurricane Sandy - Lagos Warns Residents to Stay Off Atlantic Ocean

Following the giant cyclone, christened Hurricane Sandy, currently wreaking havoc in some parts of the United States of America, the Lagos State government yesterday warned people living along the Atlantic ocean to relocate immediately, saying there could be ripple effects in seven days.

As of yesterday, 7.5 million people were left without electricity in the US following the hurricane.

The Lagos State commissioner for waterfront and infrastructure development, Prince Segun Oniru, who disclosed this while briefing newsmen alerted the residents to a likely effect of the hurricane in the state's coastal areas. There could be a strong surge in the next seven to 14 days, he said.

Oniru, flanked by commissioner for information and strategy Lateef Ibirogba and special adviser to the governor on environment Taofeek Folami, urged residents in coastal areas to be watchful.

The commissioner attributed the likely ripple effect of the hurricane to the location of Lagos parallel to the South America region.

Said Oniru: "We want to let Lagosians know what is going on, and what to expect; it is not to create panic. They should be careful around the ocean and lagoon. In the last five to six days, around the Caribbean -- from Jamaica, Haiti, Cuba -- Hurricane Sandy has hit the east coast of America.

"Normally, when such happens and the magnitude if it hits that part of the world, we always have a ripple effect in Lagos and around the West Coast of Africa. Our main concern is Lagos; it is a warning but not to create panic. Lagos lies parallel to the South America part of the world on the map, but Super storm Sandy has hit New York City and the Atlantic and the West part. That part of the world is northern to us, but we need to note that within the next 7 to 14 days, we may get a ripple effect.

"The time frame given is from experience from the past. It's from what we have witnessed here in Lagos particularly when any cyclone hits South America part of the world; because of our proximity to them, the ripple effect happens within 7 to 14 days; it's a trend."

He said the state usually experiences ocean surge three times a year, adding that "we are still expecting one more strong surge before the end of the year".

He charged residents living around the coastline and shoreline areas to be vigilant and remain calm, adding that if they see any storm similar to what was witnessed on August 17, this year, they should stay off the Atlantic Ocean.

"When the wind starts, the wind turns to a hurricane and then high water level begins to rise because of the wind. Imagine throwing water on a glass, it will flash back, so we may experience high wave, high water level as a result of the Hurricane Sandy", Oniru said.

The commissioner also revealed that the state government was putting in place plans to protect coastal areas that have been ravaged by ocean surge: They include Kuramo, Oniru, Maiyegun, Okunde and Alpha Beach, he said, stressing that work would commence any moment from now to protect those areas from any other strong ocean surge.

Commissioner for information and strategy Ibirogba urged residents to be vigilant, assuring that the state government had its emergency response squad on alert to manage any likely surge caused by the hurricane.

Special adviser on environment Engr Folami, however, warned residents to refrain from dumping refuse on drainage paths and canals in the eventuality of flooding.

Hurricane Sandy leaves 7.5m US residents without electricity

Hurricane Sandy in some parts of the United States has left more than 7.5 million people without power on the East Coast and thrown both presidential candidates off their schedule a week from Election Day.

New York and New Jersey bore the brunt of the powerful storm, which knocked out power and could leave New York City's subway system stalled for a week.

The storm is a challenge for President Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney, who were forced off the campaign trail at a critical moment in their tightening race.

Sandy presented particular problems for Romney, who has had momentum in the fight for the White House. While Obama travelled to Washington to direct federal relief operations, Romney announced he and running mate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) would participate in "storm relief" events.

Obama was updated on Sandy's path throughout the night, White House officials said Tuesday morning. The president spoke by phone to New York governor Andrew Cuomo, New Jersey governor Chris Christie, New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, Jersey City mayor Jeremiah Healy, and Newark mayor Corey Booker, a White House official said.

Speaking on Tuesday morning, Christie credited the president for his support throughout the process, saying he was "great". The New Jersey governor said he had spoken to Obama three times on Monday.

Obama is expected to receive another briefing on the storm Tuesday morning.

Romney will attend an event in Kettering, Ohio, with race car driver Richard Petty and country musician Randy Travis, with the campaign saying attendees would be asked to bring disaster relief supplies to the event.

Ryan was scheduled to visit swing-state Colorado on Tuesday, but will instead return to his home state of Wisconsin, the campaign said. Ryan will stop by Romney campaign offices in La Crosse and Hudson to speak with volunteers and thank them for their storm relief work. Ann Romney, the candidate's wife, will visit campaign offices in Iowa to also help collect donations for the recovery.

Copyright © 2012 Leadership. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.