About 15 persons, including school pupils, were severely injured, while more than 200 houses were destroyed after a downpour was accompanied by heavy storm in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. The incident has rendered many persons homeless as numerous sheets of roof were blown off.
The storm also brought down 85 electricity poles in different parts of the city, forcing the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution (PHED) to cut off power supply from the affected areas.
The boisterous wind, which started at about 4:00p.m. on Monday and lasted about an hour, had its worst hit at the Captain Elechi Amadi Polytechnic, popularly known as Port Harcourt Polytechnic. Eight of the structures on campus were badly damaged by the heavy wind, disrupting the ongoing second semester examinations.
However, the incident has forced the management of the institution to shut down temporarily to enable it put up some measures to return normalcy and for the exams to continue.
A visit to the school shows the building housing the office of the Rector and his deputy destroyed, the roofing sheets were blown off, an incident that has since sacked the duo from their offices. Vital documents, tables, chairs, computers and some machines were soaked in the rain.
Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the institution, Margret Nyesom, said: “The major reaction to the development is to give our profound gratitude to God for preserving all the lives in the school from the incident.
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Nobody died in the school, just some bruises. A total of eight buildings were affected, trees fell on some cars and some electric poles fell.
She noted that the state government had visited through the Commissioners for Special Duties and Education, who came separately to access the level of damage. She expressed hope that the state government would act swiftly to ensure that the last semester examination which begun on Monday, but have presently been suspended, would continue as soon as possible not to disrupt academic calendar.
Meanwhile, the school authorities have began a remedial work on some of the structures with the view to recalling the students next week to complete their exams pending when the government would release funds to do thorough work.
Similar fate was recorded in Lagos as residents of Moremi, Makama, and Fagunwa halls of residence at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) were severely affected by the recent rainstorm that hit the school after roofs and walls of the hostel buildings came off.
The storm, which began on Tuesday morning, had roofing sheets flying off after a deafening wind briefly swept through the school. The wall that separates Fagunwa hall from the marshes outside it also collapsed.
Narrating her experience, a resident of Moremi, Aniebietabasi Ufia, said it was scary. “Initially I didn’t think it was something serious until people in my hostel started screaming. I ran out and saw zinc sheets in the air like nylon bags, basins and buckets were tossed about like feathers. It was a frightful experience,” she said.
No student was reported hurt while the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Toyin Ogundipe, was seen with members of the management team access the extent of damage and showing solidarity with affected students.
Elsewhere in the school, a tree fell on a car parked outside of Senate building. Trees and branches also fell in front of the department of Mass Communication, causing a mild obstruction at the gate and driveway that leads into the department.
Also, canopies set up for UNILAG’s convocation exhibition were scattered around.
It is yet unclear whether the exhibition will still hold, but the storm has disrupted activities in the school.
Meanwhile, some residents of Port Harcourt have called for the immediate repair of electricity installations that were recently destroyed by a windstorm.
The windstorm wreaked havoc on assets in some parts of the city, destroying property worth millions of naira, including electricity installations.
Many residents bemoaned the power outage caused by the rainstorm and expressed fears that the blackout might linger for a long time. Mrs. Fineface Nyenwe, a cold-room operator, said the power had negatively impacted on her business.