Algeria: death toll from fires in several regions rises to 26

Algeria: death toll from fires in several regions rises to 26

Each year, the north of Algeria is affected by forest fires, but this phenomenon is accentuated from year to year under the effect of climate change.

Twenty-six people died and several dozen others were injured in forest fires that affected 14 departments in northern Algeria on Wednesday, reviving the specter of summer 2021, the deadliest of the country's modern history.

Twenty-six people died: two in Sétif [east] and 24 in El Tarf [east], near the border with Tunisia, Interior Minister Kamel Beldjoud announced on the 8 p.m. local time newscast.

Several people suffered from burns or breathing difficulties, but no new official figures were given on the number of injured.

A previous report from civil protection reported four people burned to varying degrees and 41 others suffering from breathing difficulties in Souk Ahras, another town on the border with Tunisia.

Television images impressive pictures show residents of this city fleeing their homes in the face of flames.

According to local media, more than 350 families have fled their homes in Souk Ahras.

The gendarmerie has closed several roads because of the fires.

View of a fire in the east of the country

Thirty-nine fires in 14 wilayas [ prefectures] are in progress, had indicated in the afternoon the civil protection, by specifying that the wilaya of El Tarf recorded the greatest number of fires with 16 fires, of which a good number still in progress.

According to private Ennahar television, around 50 people are hospitalized in El Tarf, a city of around 100,000 inhabitants.

Water bomber helicopters intervened in three prefectures, including Souk Ahras, a locality of approximately 500,000 inhabitants. Those of civil protection are supported by army helicopters.

Algeria has chartered a Russian Beriev BE 200 water bomber plane. But after responding to various fires, it suffered a breakdown and will not be operational again until Saturday, according to Mr. Beldjoud.

These fires rekindle wounds and the debate on the absence of water bombers in sufficient numbers, which had already agitated the country last summer.

According to the Mena Defense site, following their quarrel with Spain, the Algerian authorities canceled a contract with the Spanish company Plysa, a specialized subsidiary of the airline Air Nostrum, for the supply of seven bomber planes. x27;water.

A charred bus in the east of the country

At the end of June, Algeria suspended a treaty of friendship, good neighborliness and cooperation concluded in 2002 with Spain, after Madrid's reversal on the Western Sahara dossier to stop. align with Morocco's position.

No plan B has been planned to replace all of these Spanish planes, according to various media.

< p class="e-p">Since the beginning of August, 106 fires have broken out in Algeria, destroying 800 hectares of forest and 1,800 hectares of coppice, said the Minister of the Interior.

Some of these fires are caused, said Mr. Beldjoud.

With Wednesday's 26 deaths, the summer 2022 death toll jumps to 30.

Africa's largest country , Algeria has only 4.1 million hectares of forest, with a meager reforestation rate of 1.76%.

Hundreds of hectares have been devastated.

Each year, the north of the country is affected by forest fires, but this phenomenon is accentuated year on year as a result of climate change.

The summer of 2021 was the deadliest: at least 90 people died in fires of forest that ravaged the north, where more than 100,000 hectares of copses went up in smoke.

Global warming increases the likelihood of heat waves and droughts and, in turn, inces ndies.

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