A year after the disaster in Kabylie, the regime has still not learned the lesson

The toll of forest fires in Algeria continues to increase with a total of 5 dead since the beginning of June. While the previous year the country was bereaved by the fires in Kabylie, the Algerian regime is still slow to solve the problem.

After the death of 4 people in Skikda and Sétif during the month of June, it is the turn of the wilaya of Mostaganem to be the scene of another tragedy with the death of a volunteer who was trying to control the fire in the absence of resources committed by the Algerian State.

According to Civil Protection, a volunteer was fatally asphyxiated after being surrounded by flames in the Chekka forest, in the commune of Aïn Nouissy west of Mostaganem. He was initially evacuated in a state of unconsciousness to the health unit of the commune of Aïn Nouissy, before being transferred to the University Hospital of Mostaganem, but did not survive.

The flames had been ravaging the forests of this town for 3 days without the fire being controlled. Yet another episode of failure by the Algerian State to protect its citizens and to take proactive action to fight against forest fires, which have now become repetitive events each year due to rising temperatures.

In August 2021, Algeria was bereaved by gigantic fires that ravaged 100,000 hectares of plant cover, through 1,631 homes. A year earlier, nearly 44,000 hectares had been calcined.

But it is the human toll that is the most important since more than 100 dead have been counted by the authorities, without a final figure being communicated.

These fires in Kabylie, which claimed the lives of more than 100 people, including 33 soldiers, in the absence of suitable equipment, were fought by volunteers and units on the spot, before the intervention of international aid late, because at the same time there were fires in southern Europe.

However, Morocco had made available to its neighbor 2 Canadairs from the start of what ended up becoming a massacre. However, the Algerian regime preferred to look away from this aid, accusing the kingdom of being responsible for the fires (which earned it international ridicule), before announcing at the end of August the severance of diplomatic relations.

All the experts and the Algerians testified to the lack of anticipation of the Algerian public authorities in the face of this recurring phenomenon and condemned the relentlessness against Morocco, which had become the culprit by default of all the internal and external dysfunctions of the State. Algerian.

The largest country in Africa, Algeria has only 4.1 million hectares of forest that it does not protect, in addition to a reforestation rate of only around 1.76%.

And while the specialized site Mena Défense announced that the Algerian army intended to buy eight Russian Beriev Be-200 water bombers following the fires of 2021, the Algerian authorities have not taken a short or medium term solution. given that deliveries of are not expected to begin until 2023.

This was noticed in June 2022, when the Algerian president realized that there were still no bombers or canadairs to fight the forest fires threatening the country. A year after the fires in Kabylie, the Algerian government has still not prepared an urgent response plan.

During his visit to the Algiers Fair, the Algerian Head of State declared that he wanted to buy water bombers from the American manufacturer Lockheed Martin “immediately”, without knowing that they work with sea ​​water.

“We ask you to quickly make us a proposal for the planes intended for the fight against fires”, he said, addressing the American representative, when Abdelmadjid Tebboune had already promised an order for Russian bombers.

Faced with the response of the American who explained to her the mode of operation of the American bombers, Algeria again fell back on Russian aircraft, one of the models of which should be delivered this summer, without the date exact is revealed.

In June, the Menadefense site announced that, in the meantime, the Directorate General for Civil Protection would have leased to a European company seven Thrush Aircraft S2R-T660 – 710 P Firebird type firefighting aircraft which would be operational “at from July 1”, but the fires that struck Mostaganem for 3 days show that the Algerian response strategy is still seriously behind schedule.

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