Forest fires in Algeria kill 26 people

Forest fires in Algeria kill 26 people

The record is heavy. Forest fires that affected fourteen departments in northern Algeria killed 26 people and injured several dozen others, Algerian Interior Minister Kamel Beldjoud said on Wednesday evening (August 17). 24 victims died in El-Tarf near the border with Tunisia, two more in Sétif.

Several people are suffering from burns or breathing difficulties, but new figures on the number of injured were not given. A previous civil protection report reported that four people were burned to varying degrees and 41 others were suffering from breathing difficulties in Souk Ahras, another town on the border with Tunisia.

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Impressive images show residents of this city fleeing the flames. More than 350 families have evacuated their homes in Souk Ahras, according to local media. Because of the fires, the gendarmerie blocked several streets.

“Thirty-nine fires in fourteen wilayas [préfectures] are in progress”, said the Civil Protection, specifying that the wilaya of El-Tarf recorded the most fires with sixteen fires, a good number of which are still in progress. Water bomber helicopters intervened in three prefectures, including Souk Ahras.

fires every year in the north

Since the beginning of August, 106 fires have broken out and destroyed 800 hectares of forest and 1,800 hectares of coppice, said the interior minister. “Some of these fires are caused,” Beldjoud said. With the 26 deaths this Wednesday, the balance for the summer of 2022 increases to 30 deaths.

Algeria, the largest country in Africa, has only 4.1 million hectares of forest with a meager reforestation rate of 1.76%. The north of the country is hit by forest fires every year, but this phenomenon is also amplified every year due to climate change.

The summer of 2021 was the deadliest. At least 90 people died in wildfires that ravaged the north of the country, where more than 100,000 hectares of coppice went up in smoke.

The world with AFP