At least 65 people, including 28 soldiers, have lost their lives in the fires that ravaged northern Algeria since Monday night, especially in Kabylia, according to a new assessment provided Wednesday by Algerian national television.
“The toll of forest fires amounted to 65 dead (28 soldiers and 37 civilians), the majority in the wilaya of Tizi Ouzou,” reported the television, adding that 12 soldiers were also “hospitalized in critical condition.”
Firefighters supported by soldiers and volunteers fight on Wednesday to try to stop the mad rush of flames, which have ravaged northern Algeria since the previous day, multiple fires that have killed at least 65 people, including 28 soldiers.
These fires, for which the authorities have cited “criminal” leads, affect several regions of Kabylia, in particular Tizi Ouzou. Impressive images, accompanied by calls for help, circulate on social networks, with charred trunks, dying cattle, suffocated and besieged villages.
In pictures, we can see residents desperately trying to put out a blast of fire with the help of small branches.
As Algeria faces an extreme heat wave, winds are spreading the fires and complicating the task for rescuers, according to Youcef Ould Mohamed, a local forestry official quoted by the official APS agency.
Civil protection spokesman Nassim Barnaoui told reporters on Wednesday that a total of 69 fires were still active in 17 wilayas (prefecture). The most important are in the wilaya of Tizi Ouzou, which has also suffered the most loss of life.
“I left all my belongings in my village and fled with my wife and three children to the town of Tizi Ouzou,” said Abdelhamid, a merchant from the village of Beni Yeni.
“Fortunately, I have an apartment in the center of Tizi Ouzou, where I took refuge with my family and some neighbors,” he said.
Since Tuesday, the calls for the organization of solidarity convoys with the inhabitants of the towns of Tizi Ouzou have multiplied on social networks. Internet users are asking in particular to collect food, medicine and help bring water to fight the fires.