Quake Toll Up to 30 Dead, 250 Injured
ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) _ The toll from two earthquakes in Algeria reached at least 30 dead and 250 injured Monday, civil defense officials reported, and rescue teams continued searching for victims.
The temblors struck 12 minutes apart Sunday evening, the first registering 6 on the Richter scale and the second 4.8. Heaviest damage was reported in Tipasa, 40 miles west of Algiers, and at Churchell, a Mediterranean coastal town 60 miles west of the capital.
Prime Minister Maloud Hamrouche and his ministers of health and interior toured those areas.
Residents of Nador, Sidi Moussa and Sidi Amar blocked roads to demand government aid. One demonstrator shouted: ″Be human 3/8 We are simply asking for help 3/8″
Police used tear gas Monday afternoon to clear people off National Highway 11. One person was arrested.
Protesters carried signs demanding tents, water and bread. Local officials said relief materials were being brought in as quickly as possible, but there was a severe shortage of ambulances, generators and other rescue equipment.
In the village of Nora below Chenoua Mountain, their collapsing house killed five children of the Berkouk family - Samia, 1; Darifa, 3; Brahim, 4; Naima, 7, and Fatima, 8.
All but one of Nora’s houses were built of traditional mud bricks made of clay mixed with straw. The one exception was the only house not reduced to rubble.
″Many times we asked for construction material to build stronger houses,″ one resident said. ″Our appeals were ignored.″
Eighteen hours after the first temblor at 8:15 p.m. Sunday, relief supplies still had not reached some areas. Many people spent Sunday night outside, in gardens, public squares or schoolyards.
Some resident of Algiers panicked. Samia Daoudi, 17, jumped from the balcony of her fourth-floor apartment and was taken to a hospital with a broken hip.
Marie Josephe, a Frenchwoman hospitalized in Tipasa with a fractured shoulder, said: ″In a few seconds the house collapsed, and I found myself in the hospital,″
Four deaths in Algiers were attributed to the quakes and some buildings were damaged.
An earthquake that hit Al Asnam, 100 miles west of Algiers, in 1980 killed an estimated 2,500 people.
The open-ended Richter scale is a gauge of energy released by an earthquake, as measured by the ground motion recorded on a seismograph, and each increase of one number means 10 times greater strength. A quake measuring 6 can cause severe damage in populated areas.
A 1988 earthquake in the same region affected Sunday measured 5.4 and injured 60 people.