A man escapes from a village near Tizi Ouzou, about 100 km east of Algiers. Photo: Fateh Guidoum / AP / dpa
25 soldiers alone died in rescue missions, said President Abdelmadjid Tebboune on Tuesday evening on Twitter. In addition, seven civilians died in the Tizi Ouzo region, which was particularly hard hit by the fire, as reported by the North African country’s civil protection authority. Two others were also seriously injured.
The soldiers managed to free more than 100 people from the blazing flames in Tizi Ouzo and in the Bejaia region east of the capital Algiers, Tebboune continued.
A total of 103 fires have broken out in 17 regions in the North African country, the state news agency APS reported, citing the responsible authority for forests in the country. In Tizi Ouzou alone, 22 fires raged in the evening.
Local media reported that houses there had been reduced to rubble. Hotels have been instructed to take in people who have lost their homes to the flames. Trucks with tents, beds, medicine and groceries were supposed to roll into Tizi Ouzou from the capital that evening. There were initially no reports of deaths or injuries from the other regions.
Algerian Prime Minister Ayman Ben Abdel Rahman told state television that the fires were deliberately started. According to media reports, three suspected arsonists were arrested in the province of Medea 80 kilometers west of Algiers. Many places in Algeria are reporting temperatures of well over 40 degrees these days. The heat wave should continue for the time being.
Several countries in the Mediterranean are currently fighting severe forest fires. In Greece, 586 fires had broken out across the country in the past few days. The island of Evia is currently particularly hard hit. Several places were evacuated there. Dozens of fires are raging in Italy too. In Turkey the situation has eased somewhat in the meantime. (SDA)