Tragedy Strikes: Devastating Forest Fires Claim Lives in Algeria

news 26-Jul-2023 Africa

Many Dead in Forest Fires in Algeria

Forest fires continue to rage along Algeria's Mediterranean coast, with the government reporting the death toll has risen to 34. Firefighters in neighboring Tunisia are also battling the flames.

Like in other countries in the Mediterranean region, fires in Algeria and Tunisia have caused significant damage and resulted in fatalities. According to the Ministry of Interior, 34 people have lost their lives in Algeria. The Ministry of Defense reported that ten soldiers were killed and 25 injured during an operation against fires in the holiday region of Beni Ksila, east of the capital Algiers. It is unclear when these fatalities occurred, as the fires have been burning for several days.

8,000 firefighters deployed

In the heavily affected provinces of Béjaïa, Bouira, and Jijel along the Mediterranean coast east of Algiers, 1,500 people have been evacuated for their safety. The flames spread rapidly due to strong winds. Authorities have stated that with the deployment of approximately 8,000 firefighters and firefighting planes, the situation is now under control.

Six provinces are still working to extinguish the fires. The Ministry of Interior reported a total of 97 fires in 16 provinces. Algeria often grapples with severe wildfires during the summer, which claimed the lives of 37 people last year and even 90 lives in 2021.

2,500 people evacuated

Algeria's neighbor, Tunisia, reported temperatures reaching up to 50 degrees Celsius. The heatwave has affected large parts of the country, with the capital Tunis experiencing 48 degrees Celsius. Firefighters have been battling fires in forests near the Algerian border, which have been raging for several days. Several people suffered from heatstroke and were hospitalized. Approximately 2,500 people have been evacuated for their safety, according to media reports. In the border town of Melloula, hundreds of families were reportedly forced to flee. A Tunisian Civil Protection employee stated that hundreds of people were evacuated by sea using fishing boats and coast guard ships.

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