Eight killed in Algeria as vehicles swept away in flash floods

Others still missing as record rainfall in the north of country turns rivers into torrents

A car almost submerged beneath raging floodwaters in Fkirina, Oum El Bouaghi province, north-east Algeria. Photo: Algeria Civil Defence
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Eight people have died in north-west Algeria, after their vehicles were swept away by flash floods at the weekend.

Several others are still missing, after record rainfall, particularly in the provinces of Tlemcen and El Bayadh, Algerian Civil Defence said.

More than 40mm of rain an hour had been predicted by forecasters, transforming rivers into torrents.

In Tlemcen, near the border with Morocco, the bodies of two women and two men – whose ages ranged from 22 and 73 – were recovered on Sunday.

Civil defence officials said the vehicle in which they were travelling was swept away in torrential waters when the Oued Dalia river burst its banks.

Further inland at El Bayadh, three women and a man died after becoming getting trapped in a car that was later swept away by floodwater from the Oued El Shadly river.

Floods trapped dozens of residents in the area in their homes and cars. Houses and roads were also damaged, vehicles swept from roads and transport severely disrupted.

Algeria experiences floods almost every year. In May earlier this year, two children died in the north-east amid flooding.

In 2001, floods also killed 800 people, mainly in the capital Algiers, the highest number of fatalities recorded in the country’s history from a natural disaster.

Around 5,500 people were also left homeless by the 2001 floods, which mostly affected hilly areas and wadis, where victims lived in poorly constructed housing.

Since then, the government has conducted studies to assess which areas are most at risk.

On Friday, the Algerian National Meteorological Agency issued a special bulletin predicting incoming thunderstorms in several regions in northern Algeria.

Authorities have warned citizens to stay alert and avoid dangerous situations amid these exceptional weather circumstances.

Updated: September 04, 2023, 11:09 AM