Smoke rising from the forested hills in the region of Kabylie towards the east of Algiers raised an alarm on August 9th, 2021. Wildfires blazed through the northern part of Algeria leaving devastation in its track. The Algerian authorities deployed an army to take the citizens out from the blazes and manage evacuations on a large scale. As per reports that came out the next day, multiple fires have already killed cattle and chickens, destroyed olive trees, and burnt down Mediterranean trees. While some villagers have run away from the spot, others have stayed back to fight against the menace with the help of buckets, branches, and anything else they could manage. Unfortunately, 65 people have lost their lives, out of which 28 were soldiers and 37 civilians.
Worst Wildfire in the History of Algeria
The wildfire in the mountainous region of Kabylie is recorded to be the worst in the history of Algeria. It is being suspected that the fire has been deliberately set. Kamel Beldjoud, the country’s interior minister has accused the conspirators of igniting the conflagration. Abdelmadjid Tebboune, the president of Algeria has declared three-day national mourning for those who have lost their lives in the blazes. On the 11th of August, 69 fires were reported to have been burning.
The mishap happened when entire North Africa is already reeling, owing to a tremendous heatwave. The fire has certainly added more to the woes of the local people. Tinder-dry conditions, as well as strong winds, have been fanning the fire, causing it to spread through a vast area, engulfing lots of lives and property. The heatwave is expected to continue across the North African territory till the 15th of August. The temperatures in the country have soared as high as 46 degrees Celsius.
Rescue Efforts Are Still On
Tizi Ouzou is the district that has been affected the most. The residents have run away as their homes have been destroyed. The majority of the victims happen to live in remote villages. Those who have fled, have taken refuge in hotels, university accommodations, and hostels. There has been a fast deployment of emergency services in the region. Surprisingly, the firefighting aircraft was nowhere to be seen.
The Algerian authorities are in talks with the country’s European partners to take the firefighting planes on rent. The medics have been evacuating the clinics and hospitals in the Kabylie region. Some residents of the northern Algerian town have watched the villages and houses getting engulfed by the flames in front of their eyes and have stated that the government hasn’t come to the forefront as much as it should have to stop the spread of the wildfire. It doesn’t need to be said that they are still in a state of shock.
Other Mediterranean Countries Are Also Battling the Blaze
Algeria is not the only nation to fall prey to the blazes. Wildfires have caused an equal, if not more, amount of destruction in the other Mediterranean countries like Cyprus, Lebanon, Greece, and Turkey. The forests in Greece have been ravaged by huge wildfires. The blazes have destroyed countless homes and have forced people to flee. A bunch of firefighters across the European continent have stood shoulder to shoulder with their Greek colleagues to extinguish the flareups.
The spread has been somehow halted. However, the Evia island and the southern Peloponnese area of Greece are still burning and that’s a major concern. Greece was experiencing its worst and the most prolonged heatwave in the last thirty-four years or so. The tinder-dry conditions in the forests led to a fire breakout. A team of 900 firefighters from Poland, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Cyprus, Moldova, and Slovakia was seen in action in the country’s second-largest island, Evia, fighting the hot flames of quickly spreading fire.
Turkey Was the First To Experience The Devastating Wildfire
On the 4th of August, reports about a huge wildfire in Turkey shocked the world. According to Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, the country is fighting against the worst-ever wildfire. Strong and dry wind along with high temperatures have resulted in the blazes, causing thousands of residents of southwest Turkey to flee from their homes and hotels, located close to the Mediterranean and Aegean coasts.
Since the second week of August, eight people have been reported to have lost their lives. Emergency crews and ground workers, along with dozens of planes and helicopters are battling the wildfire. However, Erdogan’s government has been blamed for its late response to the disaster.
Algeria, Greece, and Turkey are trying hard to extinguish the flames that have destroyed the lives of thousands, aside from blazing plenty of houses, trees, and wildlife. Such calamities are indeed unfortunate.