Firefighters, soldiers and volunteers are on Saturday to extinguish the last wildfire that ravaged northern Algeria, which has killed nearly 90 people since Monday, including 33 soldiers, local officials reported.
According to Algerian leaders, most of these fires are of “criminal” origin and the arsonists have been arrested.
Experts and witnesses nonetheless point to the lack of anticipation and prevention of public officials in the event of a recurring occurrence in Algeria every year.
In addition, these latest wildfires are currently being intensified by extreme heat.
The Defense Ministry on Saturday organized two ceremonies to honor the 33 soldiers who fought the flames, one at the Algiers Military Hospital, in the presence of the Chief of Staff, Saeed Chenegriha, and the other Constantine (Northeast) Was.
“These heroes sacrificed their souls for the motherland and to protect their fellow citizens from arson attacks in various areas of our country”, during a funeral on the third and final day of national mourning, General Boalem Maddy, Director of Defense Communications declared. .
Tebboune met the wounded
President Abdelmadjid Tebboune met hospitalized wounded, civilians and soldiers in Algiers on Saturday and promised to implement all necessary means to care for them.
In the absence of a new official global report, reports reported by local officials, the Ministry of Civil Defense and Defense put a total of 90 deaths since Monday.
“Civil Defense teams are currently working to extinguish 29 fires in 13 villas (prefectures)”, specifically in Tzi Ojou, Jizel and Bejla in Kabilia, a statement said.
Hundreds of fires were identified across the country on Thursday. “The Civil Defense Air Group and Army helicopters carried out 235 water bombing operations, not to mention 172 operations by water bombers in Tizi-Ozhou, Bejau and Jizel”, added Civil Defense.
Two French water bombers – provided by Paris through the European Union (EU) – as well as a liaison aircraft, carried out massive interventions in Kabylia on Thursday and Friday.
A Spanish water bomber arrived on Saturday and a second is expected in the next few hours, according to the official APS agency. According to Mr. Tebboune, a third device should soon be deployed from Switzerland.
43 outbreaks of previous wildfires were extinguished
A total of 43 houses have been set ablaze in 20 provinces in the last 24 hours.
Around 7,500 civil defense agents have been deployed along with 490 fire vans and three helicopters.
Five heavy MI-26 helicopters of Russian origin were also mobilized by the army.
According to the special site MENA Defense, the Algerian army intends to purchase eight Russian water bombers Beriev B-200. According to local media, three of them were due to reach Algiers on Saturday.
According to the APS, Russia has offered to provide four water bomber aircraft to Algeria, which states that their arrival was delayed “due to the lack of overflight authorizations from Greece and Cyprus”. They should reach the site “in the next few hours”.
Faced with tragedy, civil society solidarity appears on the ground and international aid is organized.
“We get help from everywhere. I saw trucks and vans from all over Algeria,” enthuses a young volunteer, who is quoted by the French-speaking daily Liberte.
Weather services are forecasting temperatures of up to 48 degrees in the already water-starved country.
Africa’s largest country, Algeria, has only 4.1 million hectares of forest – an area that has shrunk further with the latest wildfires – with a meager afforestation rate of 1.76%.
Every year, the north of the country is affected by wildfires. In 2020, about 44,000 hectares of copis went up in smoke.
The increasing fires around the world are linked to various events anticipated by scientists due to global warming.
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