About 1,400 people are homeless near Algiers where landslides, caused by heavy rains, have destroyed three villages.
About 1,400 people are homeless near Algiers where landslides, caused by heavy rains, have destroyed three villages. Eleven other villages are threatened.
Khemis el-Khechna, 40 kilometres southeast of Algiers, is a region of underground springs. Swollen by recent heavy rainfall, the springs have caused whole areas of hillside to shift, damaging homes and forcing the local people to evacuate.
Over a space of four days last week, 900 houses were damaged, many to the point of collapse. Giant cracks have distorted and destroyed roadways, making communications and relief work in the area difficult.
Most of the villagers' crops have been destroyed.
The Red Cross had distributed hundreds of pounds of grain to the villagers, who are being housed by neighbours and in public buildings. But food is still in short supply.
While many of the families were evacuated, many men stayed at their homes to watch cattle and guard against looting.
The shifting ground has burst open pipelines running through the area and work is proceeding to prevent further run-off of escaping oil into nearby reservoirs.