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Home » North African region grapples with devastating earthquakes, floods, fires

North African region grapples with devastating earthquakes, floods, fires

by Deepak Mirza
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The North African countries, including Morocco, Libya, Algeria, and Tunisia, have suffered heavy losses due to earthquakes, floods, and fires in recent months.

The chain of natural disasters began with forest fires in Tunisia and Algeria, which were hit by record-breaking temperatures. In July and August, dozens of people lost their lives, and thousands of hectares of forested areas turned into ashes in the fires.

September has been a particularly dark month for Morocco and Libya. Morocco was rocked by its largest earthquake in the past century, while Libyans faced the nightmare of Hurricane Daniel. This month, Algeria has also been caught in a spiral of forest fires.

Anadolu has compiled information on recent disasters that have caused significant losses in Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, and Libya.

Earthquake in Morocco

On the night of Sept. 8, an earthquake with a magnitude of 7, centered in the El-Huz region near the city of Marrakesh, struck Morocco.

The disaster, described as the largest earthquake in a century in the country, affected Marrakesh as well as the capital Rabat, Casablanca, Meknes, Agadir, Fes, and seven border towns of Algeria.

The Royal Court of Morocco stated that approximately 50,000 homes were completely or partially destroyed in five regions affected by the earthquake.

According to the latest data from the Ministry of Interior of Morocco, the earthquake resulted in 2,946 deaths and 6,125 injuries.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies reported that 6.6 million people were living in the affected areas.

Unprecedented flooding in Libya

Hurricane Daniel, which hit the eastern part of Libya on Sept. 10, affected cities like Benghazi, Bayda, Marj, Susa, and Derna, causing a catastrophic flood.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) announced that 11,300 people lost their lives in the flood, with more than 10,000 people missing. It was reported that search and rescue efforts were ongoing, and an increase in casualties was anticipated.

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) data, more than 40,000 people were displaced in the northeastern part of the country due to the flood.

Derne, the city most affected by the collapse of two dams during the flood, was left in ruins.

Martin Griffiths, the UN Deputy Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, stated that an unimaginable disaster had occurred in Libya due to the flood, and there were talks that the death toll could reach tens of thousands.

Floods and forest fires in Algeria

After a period of severe drought in Algeria, increased rainfall from May onward led to flooding in many cities.

In May, floods occurred in Kalima, Tipaza, and El-Agvat in western Algiers and claimed the lives of at least nine people between May 26 and June 4.

Heavy rains also caused casualties in Algeria in September. In Tlemcen, four people lost their lives when their vehicle was swept away by floods, and five people went missing in the same flood.

Algeria is also dealing with forest fires that broke out in many locations in the north of the country in July due to extreme heat, lasting for days.

These fires resulted in the deaths of 34 people, including 10 soldiers, and injuries to 194 people, with thousands of hectares of forest turning into ashes.

In August, there were 10 forest fires in six provinces. Shortly after extinguishing these fires, the country faced another wave of forest fires.

The Algerian Civil Defense Directorate announced on Sept. 17 that forest fires in 41 different locations in 11 cities in the northern part of the country had been extinguished, while firefighting efforts were continuing in 18 other locations.

Tunisia battling forest fires

In another North African country, Tunisia, numerous families were displaced, and hundreds of hectares of forests and agricultural land were damaged due to forest fires in July and August.

The government announced on July 27 that over 20 forest fires had occurred nationwide, damaging over 1,500 hectares (3,706 acres) of land, and all fires were under control.

At the end of August, 26 families were evacuated from the Jendouba province in Tunisia near the Algerian border due to forest fires.

Source: AA

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