Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Issues in the News: North Africa

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Issues in the News: North Africa

Article excerpt

Algeria Flood Disaster:

Algeria's worst flooding in four decades has left a reported 670 people dead, although unofficial numbers run much higher, according to the Nov. 26 Saudi Gazette. Rescuers continue to search for remains of people trapped under tons of mud that destroyed the Bab El Oued district of Algiers Nov. 9 and 10. The flooding and subsequent mudslide followed a month of intense drought, and has left thousands homeless, reported the Gazette on Nov. 15. Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika addressed the beleaguered district, saying "God wanted to test us, and God is now witness to our efforts." These efforts have been hampered, however, as entire truckloads of food, clothing and blankets intended as relief aid for the flood survivors have been stolen or fraudulently distributed. The government has been criticized for its failure to direct aid properly, as well as its lack of adequate rescue materials such as bulldozers or even shovels. The Gazette also noted on Nov. 20 that the storm's impact was worsened due to the government's decision in the 1990s to cement storm drains in order to deny militants easy escape routes. The district is recovering, however, as market stands are being reopened and roads cleared of nearly 50 million cubic feet of waste. …

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