29 killed in Algerian floods

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A panoramic view of Ghardaïa before the floods.
Image: Addounya.

Floods in the Algerian town of Ghardaïa which is in the M'zab Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, have killed at least 29 people according to local officials and Ali Belkhir, the head of public health for the north African country.

Belkhir confirmed that "following these floods, we can sadly declare that 29 people have died." He also said that 84 people were injured, although the Algerian interior ministry has since lowered the toll to 48. Six hundred homes were also flooded in the incident, and several hundred people were evacuated by helicopter.

According to reports on Algerian national radio, there may also be undiscovered damage in towns nearby Ghardaïa, which is approximately 600 kilometres from the Algerian capital, Algiers.

The flooding was caused by storms that flooded a seasonal river, known locally as a wadi, which can rise quickly by around 8 metres.

Ghardaïa is the capital of the Ghardaïa Province, located on the edge of the Sahara desert, and it has a population of approximately 100,000. The city was founded in the 11th century and has a pyramid-style mosque at its center.