An armoury at the Ikeja military cantonment in Lagos, Nigeria, containing "high calibre bombs" went up in flames at about 6.00 pm (local time) on Sunday, 27th January 2002, resulting in a series of explosions in and around the cantonment. The explosions affected areas up to 50 kms. away from the scene of the incident. Lagos is the economic nerve centre of Nigeria. It has an estimated population of between 10 and 12 million people. Two Local Government Areas - Ikeja and Oshodi/Isolo - with a population of about 1.03 million people were mostly affected.
Official pronouncements put the number of deaths as at 30th January at about 700. Most of the deaths were due to drowning in a stretch of canal by fleeing persons, a few kilometres away from the nucleus of the explosions. Many people were injured and treated for burns and minor wounds. As at 29th January, the Nigerian Red Cross had treated 250 of such people. Many more probably patronised other health facilities. The explosions caused damage to a number of buildings in and around the cantonment, resulting in displaced persons and loss of property. Government has conservatively put the figure of displaced persons at 20,000. The figure could be more. Destroyed structures include residential buildings, offices, business centres and schools.
MAJOR ACTIONS SO FAR TAKEN
The Federal Government has set up an Explosion Disaster Relief Fund and a Committee headed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to receive and administer the fund. The Federal Government has donated the sum of two hundred million naira to the Fund, and appealed to both the local and international community to contribute to the Fund.
The Lagos State Government has also set up a Lagos State Government Explosion Relief Fund, and opened a dedicated account for receipt of cash donations.
The state Government has set up two rehabilitation camps - one for military personnel and the other for civilians. An information centre has also been set up at Ikeja cantonment for those who wish to get information on missing members of families or make other related enquiries.
A number of individuals, establishments and Non-Governmental Organizations are providing relief materials.
Many children who fled from home and were found wandering have been reunited with their families. A few who are yet to be identified are in one of the camps, under the care of the Red Cross.
The Government has also provided ambulances to transfer corpses to three designated mortuaries, and also provided buses to take people to the various mortuaries to identify and collect bodies of dead relatives.
EXPECTED AREAS OF ASSISTANCE
Supply of first line drugs, such as Tetanus Toxoid, Analgesics, Antibiotics, Anti-malarials, Anti-diarrhoea and infusions
Supply of water and sanitation facilities
Supply of relief materials, such as mattresses, blankets, clothes, water purifiers, disinfectants, toiletries, etc.
Provision of money, for rehabilitation of victims
Evaluation of the immediate and long term health hazards of the explosions
All individuals or organizations that wish to contribute to the Disaster Relief Fund, should please contact:
443, Herbert Macaulay Road,
Tel: (234 1) 5453662/3
Fax: (234 1) 5452179
E-mail: admin [at] who-nigeria.org" target="_blank">admin [at] who-nigeria.org
WHO Regional Office for Africa,
P. O. Box BE 773
Tel: (263) 4703580; 4703684
Fax: (263) 4700742; (1 321) 7339020
E-mail: regafro [at] whoafr.org" target="_blank">regafro [at] whoafr.org
EHA Unit WHO 20,
CH-1211 Geneva 27
Tel: (41) 22 791 21 11
Fax: (41) 22 791 31 11
E-mail: info [at] who.int