Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed expresses condolences after dozens killed in Algerian wildfires

The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces pledged support during call with Algerian President, Abdelmadjid Tebboune

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, expressed his condolences to Algeria's President after dozens of people were killed in wildfires which swept across several provinces in the country this week.

At least 65 people are believed to have died in the fierce series of blazes, many of whom were soldiers deployed to assist fire fighters, with officials citing arson as the cause for many of them.

President Abdelmadjid Tebboune declared three days of national mourning for the victims.

Sheikh Mohamed shared his sympathies with the victims and stressed the UAE's solidarity with the African nation during a phone call with the Algerian leader.

The Abu Dhabi Crown Prince said the Emirates was ready to provide assistance during a challenging time for the people of Algeria.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation echoed Sheikh Mohamed's sentiments, saying in a statement it offered "sincere condolences and sympathy to the Algerian government and to the families of the victims over this enormous loss, wishing the injured a speedy recovery".

President Tebboune offered his thanks and appreciation to Sheikh Mohamed for his support.

Fires were reported in 18 of the country’s 58 districts, ten of them near Tizi Ouzou, one of the most populous cities in Kabylie, overnight on Monday and on Tuesday.

Major fires were also reported in Jijel, Bejaia, Bouira, Guelma, Khenchela and Setif.

Videos and photos shared online showed residents of towns fleeing as fires raged in nearby mountains.

Monday was marked by a heat wave exceeding 45°C and high winds, which are elements conducive to the spread of fires. Thick and dry vegetation cover can act as kindling for such fires.

Interior and Local Communities Minister Kamel Beldjoud blamed criminal elements for starting the blazes, made worse by a hot, dry summer.

“Only criminal hands can be behind the simultaneous outbreak of 50 fires across several localities in the wilaya (administrative region),” he said.

Updated: August 12th 2021, 8:47 AM