Algeria quake toll rises to nine as survivors hold on to hope of rescue, fearing aftershocks
An earthquake in north-western Algeria has killed at least one person and injured some 200 others, while the Algerian government has confirmed nine deaths among the injured.
The initial death toll was reported by Reuters, but several media sources said a second body had been pulled from the rubble. The village of Koutara, about 50km (30 miles) from the Romanian border, was hit by the 6.6-magnitude quake.
Videos have emerged showing damage to buildings, and rescue workers are pulling people out from the rubble in the municipality of Koutara, west of the regional capital Oran.
Algeria has posted pictures on its state media of injured people being treated in schools, making it unclear how many were injured, and how many died.
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“I don’t believe my building is standing, it collapsed but we all found ourselves alive in the car with our wallets, our ID cards, and our car keys,” one survivor told Algerian state television.
Algeria is regularly hit by earthquakes. The greatest quake of magnitude 5.8 hit in 1999, killing 30 people and flattening a small town about 65km east of the capital, Algiers. In 1978, an earthquake killed 30 people and injured at least 7,000 in the same region.
In an email, an official at Italy’s earthquake institute blamed the dense population in the area.
“This is a mountainous area, the mining activity is concentrated on the surface and the population there is large,” Guido Buscaglia said. “The risk of following up aftershocks is quite real.”
Czech seismologist Robert Thörnes said there were numerous faults on the same epicentre, which was classified as a shaker with known faults.