National mourning declared in Algeria over wildfire disaster

Because of the recent wildfire disaster, the Algerian Presidency declared three days of national mourning.

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Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has decided to declare three days of national mourning from Thursday onwards, due to wildfires that have erupted in the country. It has been announced that, as of August 12, 2021, it has been decided to temporarily freeze all government and local activities except solidarity activities.

Algeria has been facing multiple forest fires in recent days after an extreme heatwave and strong winds from the south. In Algeria, a total of 65 people, 28 of them soldiers and 37 of them civilians, lost their lives in forest fires that broke out at 100 different points in 18 provinces in the northeastern part of the country.

It is stated that the teams have difficulty in responding to forest fires in the mountainous regions of Algeria, where mostly the Amazigh (Berber) population lives and transportation is difficult. The Algerian army is also participating in firefighting efforts.

Algerian Prime Minister Aymen Benabderrahmane, in a statement to state television, argued that natural conditions contributed to the spread of fires, but the points where simultaneous fires started, especially in the Tizi Ouzou province, were “specially chosen to cause maximum damage.”

Stating that the first investigations showed that forest fires “started through sabotage,” Benabderrahmane said that negotiations are being held for the lease of firefighting aircraft from European countries.

Minister of Interior Kamel Beldjoud, who visited the areas affected by the fire, said in a statement to the local press that they focused on the possibility of “sabotage” in the simultaneous fires and that those responsible would be revealed as a result of the investigation.

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