Algeria’s prime minister: over 40 people have died in wildfires

Listen to this Article Now

Wildfires erupted east of Algeria’s capital, Algiers, killing 42 people, including 25 military personnel, Prime Minister Ayman Benabderrahmane announced on Tuesday

Social media photos show massive walls of flame and billowing clouds of smoke towering above burnt trees in the forested hills of the Kabylie region, east of Algiers. Algeria is the latest country to be affected by a huge fire in recent weeks, joining Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Russia, and the United States.

President Abdelmadjid Tebboune expressed his condolences for the deaths of 25 soldiers while rescuing civilians in the Bejaiea and Tizi Ouzou districts, which were the epicenter of the fires. “It is with great sadness that I have learned of the martyrdom of 25 soldiers after they were successful in rescuing around 100 citizens from the flames in the mountains of Bejaia and Tizi Ouzou,” the president said.

Meteorologists said the temperature would hit 46C (115F) on Tuesday in a North African country that is also struggling with severe water shortages. Interior Minister Kamel Beldjoud, on a visit to the northern city, told television that “50 fires starting at the same time is impossible. These fires are of criminal origin”. The civil protection directorate said 12 northern urban centers were hit by fires.