At least 37 killed in fire in Algeria

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An animal was burned in the Al Qala fire this Thursday in the Algerian province of Al Taref.Ramji Boudina (Reuters)

forest fire wreaks havoc Algeria, had already come under fire last summer. At least 37 deaths have been reported in the flames, as Algerian public radio advanced this Thursday and later confirmed by the Civil Protection Agency, which has counted a total of 128 active outbreaks in the country’s 21 governorates. The number of injured in the fire is at least 160, with some in critical condition. Authorities have attributed the fire, which particularly affected the provinces of Al Tareef and Setif, with the weather conditions in recent days, with temperatures around 40 degrees, joined by strong winds that extended their expansion. provide facilities. On Thursday morning, the prime minister, Ayman Benbader Rahman, visited one of the affected areas.

The province most affected by the flames has been Al Tarif, where at least 30 people have died. The motives and location of all the victims are still unclear, but it is reported that eight of them died when a bus driving near one of the flames burst into flames. Surrounded. Two other people died due to smoke in the city of Ouled Sebat in Setif province. In addition, there is an indeterminate number of missing, so the balance of victims may increase in the coming hours.

In an appearance on public television on Wednesday night, Interior Minister Kamal Beldjoud estimated that more than 2,600 hectares of forest and shrubbery had already been burned by the fires in Al Tareef, Jizel, Skikda, Tipasa and Souk provinces. In this last area, about 400 people surrounded by flames could be evacuated amid heavy tension. “The state has mobilized all means since the start of the summer season in anticipation of wildfires,” Beljoud declared. Among the tools deployed is the military, which also includes several helicopters. “Commissions have been set up in the provinces for the purpose of assessing material damage in the affected areas,” the interior minister said.

Two Algerian firefighters walk past a charred bus in the city of Al-Kala on Thursday.
Two Algerian firefighters walk past a charred bus in the city of Al-Kala on Thursday. – (AFP)

President of the country Abdelmajid Teboniexpressed its condolences to the victims through an official statement on Wednesday. “Following the ongoing wildfires in several provinces in the east of the country, caused by the victims in Al Tareef and Setif, the President of the Republic, Abdelmajid Tebun, offers his sincere condolences and compassion to the families of the victims, wishing a speedy are the recovery of the wounded”, reads the note, in which the president has promised state support to the wounded and mobilization of “all human and material means” to douse the flames.

A wave of fires ravaged the country already last summerDue to the death of 90 people and destruction of thousands of hectares, most of them are in the Kabilia region near the capital Algiers. The play was embroiled in controversies for many reasons. Firstly, due to the fact that there were no seaplanes in the country, despite the fact that the Mediterranean region is one of the regions most prone to summer fires. To solve this problem, the government has procured six Beriev-200 seaplanes. Awaiting their arrival, Algiers chartered one of these seaplanes from Russia this summer, but it has been conspicuous by its absence in the skies over the affected regions in recent days. “Unfortunately, it has been out of order for three days,” explained Beldjoud.

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A second source of controversy was the fact that the Algerian authorities claimed that the Mack party, which advocates self-determination for the Kabylia region, was behind the fire, suggesting it would have had Moroccan cooperation. He also blamed the MAK, which is considered a “terrorist organization” by Algiers, a young man who had come to the area as a volunteer to help put out the fire, which the mob mistook as arson. was, for murder and murder. The brutal aggression was recorded from a mobile phone and then spread on social networks, causing a great deal of uproar in Algerian society.

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