Home Middle East Devastating Wildfires in Algeria Claim Dozens of Lives and Displace Hundreds of Families

Devastating Wildfires in Algeria Claim Dozens of Lives and Displace Hundreds of Families

Devastating wildfires sweep across Algeria's Mediterranean coast, prompting the deployment of thousands of firefighters to combat the deadly blaze.

Devastating Wildfires in Algeria Claim Dozens of Lives and Displace Hundreds of Families

Wildfires have been devastating Algeria, resulting in the deaths of over 30 people, including 10 soldiers who were battling the flames. The fires have been fueled by fierce winds and extreme heat, with temperatures reaching a scorching 48 degrees Celsius (118 Fahrenheit) in some areas of the North African country. The Algerian interior ministry reported a total of 97 blazes across 16 provinces, leading to at least 34 fatalities and injuring at least 26 people. The fires have spread through residential areas, prompting the evacuation of around 1,500 people from the Bejaia, Bouira, and Jijel provinces along Algeria’s Mediterranean coastal region, which has been heavily affected by the wildfires.

President Abdelmadjid Tebboune expressed his condolences to the families of the victims, both civilians and security personnel, as the nation grapples with the devastating impact of the wildfires. To combat the fires, approximately 7,500 firefighters and 350 trucks, along with aerial support, have been deployed across the country, especially in the Boumerdes, Tizi Ouzou, Jijel, and Skikda regions. Authorities are working to extinguish fires in six provinces and have urged citizens to avoid affected areas while encouraging them to report any new blazes.

The Algerian government and civil protection services have been tirelessly working to bring the flames under control, but the situation remains critical due to the severity of the wildfires and the prevailing heatwave. The fires have not only resulted in loss of life but also extensive damage to fields, forests, vehicles, and storefronts. Algerian authorities are conducting a preliminary probe to identify the causes of the blazes and potential perpetrators.

The situation is not unique to Algeria, as a heatwave has swept across several Mediterranean countries, exacerbating the wildfires in the region. Tunisia, a neighboring country, has also experienced soaring temperatures, nearing 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit) on Monday. Fires have raged in a Tunisian pine forest near the border with Algeria, leading to the evacuation of at least 300 people from the village of Melloula.

Climate change is increasingly affecting the Mediterranean region, which has been designated a climate change “hot spot” by scientists. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned of more heatwaves, crop failures, droughts, rising sea levels, and the influx of invasive species in the area. While wildfires are a recurring phenomenon in Algeria during the summer, the current situation has been intensified by the extreme weather conditions, underscoring the urgent need for climate action and disaster preparedness in the face of these escalating challenges.

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