Lagos plans “catastrophe” campaign

Lagos council is planning to launch a campaign with tips and advice on what people should do in case of catastrophe – especially earthquakes -, council architect Frederico Paula has told Lusa news agency.
“If a big earthquake were to happen in Portugal, its most likely epicentre would be in Banco de Marquês de Pombal, which is around 150-200km away from Cape S. Vincent in Sagres,” he pointed out, stressing that there wouldn’t be enough time for authorities to launch an effective warning.
Paula’s bombshell came at the end of the tourist season, as Lagos hosted an INsPIREd seminar designed to come up with risk reduction strategies.
A major earthquake could cause “widespread death and destruction” in Lagos, he told Lusa, with the added worry of a possible tsunami, as it is a coastal town.
“We must have an emergency plan for beaches,” he added.
“Lagos is a seasonal town, with beaches that are overcrowded during the summer time.” He said he hopes to include hoteliers in the efforts of raising awareness among tourists.
But the dangers go even further.
Houses in the centre of the town are “vulnerable”, said the architect, who added he regretted that there aren’t any additional funds to encourage their rehabilitation other than a small council-backed incentive.
Thus, Paula defends the need for the campaign, which he hopes will be launched before the end of the year.
For now, he gave a list of tips for how people can prepare for (and deal with) a major earthquake:
• First of all, avoid having furniture in areas where it can fall over and obstruct exits.
• It is also recommended to keep beds away from windows, and have a backpack stowed away in an easily-accessible area of the house with food, water, blankets, a flashlight, rope and a portable radio.
• In case of an earthquake, do not leave your house right away unless it has suffered major damage. Most injuries occur when people leave their houses and are hit by falling masonry and broken glass.
• Turn off your water, gas and electricity supply points to avoid further damage sparked by leaks.