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Floods kill 5 in snow-hit Algeria

Snow hit Setif [Facebook]

At least five people have been killed and more than 100 have been rescued as floods hit several cities in northern Algeria, after days of heavy snowfall.

Civil rescue units said five people were swept away by flood waters as they attempted to escape the cold conditions that hit the country last week.

“All the victims have been retrieved over the last 48 hours after being swept away by waters in Annaba, El Tarf, Tizi Ouzou and Tipaza,” the civil protection body said.

Salvage operations are currently taking place in more than 17 areas across the country and dozens of people have been rescued from their homes. However a total of 33 roads remain blocked in over ten regions because of snow, the civil protection unit said, adding that “clearing operations are progressing”.

Heavy snowstorms hit several cities in the north of the country last week, with photos from the city of Setif showing it buried in several feet of snow. Elsewhere, heavy rain flooded roads and rivers, with water levels in the town of El-Hadjar almost submerging cars, resulting in the suspension of some public services.

An increase in extreme weather conditions in Algeria in recent years has been attributed to climate change. Known for its arid climate, the country has seen a rising frequency of short periods of torrential rainfall and cold snaps. However droughts are also becoming increasingly common in the summer months; average annual rainfall in the country has fallen by more than 30 per cent in recent decades.

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