Algeria mourns dozens lost to fast-moving wildfires
Algerian authorities say they’ve mobilized all resources to combat wildfires that have claimed at least 38 lives in the El Tarf and Setif districts of the country’s northeast.
The month of August has seen at least 106 different fires reported through Wednesday, with hundreds more people injured and homes and businesses destroyed.
President Abdelmadjid Tebboune extended his condolences to those affected, and promised aid to survivors. Algeria also has received assurances of solidarity from President Kais Saied of Tunisia, as well as the governments of Kuwait and Turkey.
“On behalf of the U.S. Embassy in Algiers, I want to express my deepest condolences to all the victims of the devastating wildfires,” said Elizabeth Aubin, the United States ambassador to Algeria. “We wish for peace and comfort to victims and their families in this difficult time.”
Images and video shared on social media showed fast-moving fires in the tinder-dry landscape, overtaking transport buses on roads and busy market stalls in affected communities. Algeria, as with much of the planet, was experiencing an extreme heat wave with temperatures reaching 48C in the El Tarf region.
The alarming conditions in Algeria led many to recall last year’s battles with blazes that claimed dozens of lives in the Tizi Ouzou and Béjaïa regions. Morocco, Portugal, Spain and France are among the Mediterranean nations also experiencing extreme heat and drought leading to wildfires.