Algeria commenced three days of mourning on Thursday after 69 people were killed by wildfires which ravaged parts of the country. Meanwhile in neighbouring Tunisia, record temperatures sparked blazes that have, so far, engulfed around 3000 hectares of forest, even though no fatalities have as yet been recorded.
Speaking on Wednesday, Algeria’s president, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, declared the mourning period for the “civil and military persons” who had lost their lives in the fire. Tunisia’s president, Kais Saied, has offered help, while also fighting potentially deadly fires on his own border. Appearing on state television earlier, Algeria’s prime minister, Ayman Benabderrahmane appealed for international help, saying that the government was already in talks with partners to hire planes to extinguish the fires. The region has no water-dumping aircraft.
Both the governments in Algiers and Tunis have suggested the multiple blazes may have been started deliberately, but have stopped short of providing details of who or why. Tunisia has dispatched civil protection units and the national guard to the northern area close to the Algerian border, where they continue to evacuate homes ahead of the spreading blaze.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies