At least 26 killed in forest fires in Northern Algeria

A man looks at a forest fire near Larbaa Nath Irathen, 100 kilometers east of Algiers, Aug. 11, 2021. (Photo: AP)

The interior ministry reported that at least 26 people were killed and more were injured in forest fires that scorched 14 regions in northern Algeria on Wednesday.

Kamel Beldjoud stated on state television that 24 people perished in fires in El Tarf, near the Tunisian border, and that two others perished in Setif earlier.

According to Setif's civil protection office, two ladies, a 58-year-old mother, and her 31-year-old daughter were killed in the city.

People were spotted fleeing their homes in Souk Ahras, farther east near Algeria's border with Tunisia, as fires spread before the deployment of firefighting helicopters.

The police reported that four persons in Souk Ahras suffered burns and 41 others experienced respiratory difficulties. According to media sources, 350 residents were evacuated.

The current number of those injured in the fires in other locations was not provided.

Several roads have been closed by the police due to the fires.

"Thirty-nine fires are underway in 14 wilayas [administrative councils]," the civil protection agency reported, noting that El Tarf was the most affected region, with 16 flames currently burning.

Three wilayas, notably Souk Ahras, were fought using buckets of water dropped from helicopters.

Since the beginning of August, 106 forest fires in Algeria have destroyed more than 2,500 hectares of forest.

Some of the fires, according to Beldjoud, were caused by humans.

The death toll on Wednesday pushed the overall number of individuals killed in wildfires this summer to thirty.

Algeria has forests covering 4,1 million hectares (10,1 million acres). Every year, the country's northern region is afflicted by forest fires, an issue that has intensified due to climate change.

Last year, forest fires in northern Algeria killed at least 90 people and destroyed over 100,000 hectares of forest.

Publish : 2022-08-18 07:48:00

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