- Title: ALGERIA: EARTHQUAKE DEATH TOLL CONTINUES TO RISE, LATEST.
- Date: 25th May 2003
- Summary: (W7) BOUMERDES, ALGERIA (23 MAY 2003) (REUTERS) 1. GV: HEAVY DIGGING EQUIPMENT MOVING RUBBLE (3 SHOTS) 0.18 2. MV: PEOPLE SEARCHING THROUGH RUBBLE WITH HANDS 0.30 3. GV: RUSSIAN RESCUER IN BLUE SUIT WITH DOG 0.42 4. MV/PAN: DOG SNIFFING AROUND IN RUBBLE 0.55 5. MV: EQUIPMENT MOVING RUBBLE 1.07 6. MV/CU: PEOPLE CUTTING THROUGH BRICKS WITH ELECTRIC SAW (2 SHOTS) 1.13 7. GV: BODY BEING DISCOVERED, SHOTS OF COVERED BODY UNDER RUBBLE (6 SHOTS) 1.38 (W3) BOUMERDES, ALGERIA (23 MAY 2003) (REUTERS) 8. GV: MAN SITTING NEXT TO COLLAPSED BUILDING 1.48 9. MCU: SOUNDBITE (French) UNIDENTIFIED MAN SAYING "Here, there are seven bodies (Reporter asks: Do you know these people) Yes it's my family." 2.23 (W7) BOUMERDES, ALGERIA (23 MAY 2003) (REUTERS) 10. GV/MV/PAN: RESCUERS CARRYING BODY TO AMBULANCE (3 SHOTS) 3.04 11. GV: AMBULANCE DRIVING AWAY 3.08 12. GV: PEOPLE TAKING BODY OUT OF AMBULANCE AND INTO MAKESHIFT MORGUE (2 SHOTS) 3.46 13. GV/CU: BODIES IN MAKESHIFT MORGUE, IN GYMNASIUM, RELATIVES LOOKING AT BODIES (3 SHOTS) 4.07 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Embargoed: 9th June 2003 13:00
- Location: BOUMERDES, ALGERIA
- Country: Algeria
- Reuters ID: LVA988U6FE8NOKGRY75BKQWLFPQ8
- Story Text: Elite rescue teams and their sniffer dogs found little
but fast-decaying corpses in the rubble of Algeria's
earthquake on Friday as the death toll marched steadily higher
to more than 1,600.
Hopes of finding survivors faded as, two days on,
thousands of people were still scrabbling in clouds of dust
with shovels, sledgehammers and even their bare hands to dig
out loved ones from compacted mounds of concrete.
And anger mounted, with accusations flying against the
authorities for failing to help more quickly and for allowing
so many rickety buildings to go up along the North African
country's notoriously quake-prone Mediterranean coast.
A bright moment amid the desolation came when a baby girl
was lifted alive from an apartment block which had collapsed,
like a concertina, into a pile of mangled debris.
But Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia was sombre, announcing
that the death toll had doubled in the past 24 hours to more
than 1,600. "The victim figures are expected to rise," he
More than 7,200 people were counted as injured in
Wednesday evening's quake, which measured 6.7 on the Richter
The chief cleric of the main mosque in the capital,
Algiers, told worshippers at Friday prayers that the calamity
was -- like the flooding and quakes that have plagued the
country for years -- a message from God to those who had
chosen to forget him.
"People think the earthquake is a natural phenomenon, they
think they can explain it through science," Mohamed Slimane
said in a sermon that was aired on national television. "They
forget who is behind it, it is God."
The earthquake did not level whole districts. It knocked
down a few buildings here and there, weakened others and left
many older ones still standing.
Officials said the area worst-hit was middle-class
Boumerdes, to the east of Algiers. That town alone accounted
for some 835 of the dead and still had more than 1,200
But in nearby Reghaia, local residents said that as many
as 800 people were crushed when a 10-storey apartment tower
crashed to the ground in a smoking jumble of cement and iron
Earthquake rescue teams from several European countries
fanned out across Boumerdes, using sniffer dogs and listening
devices. "Search, search!" one of the volunteers urged his
dogs as they scrambled into what was once a four-storey
But with the temperature up to 30 degrees Celsius (86
Fahrenheit), no one pretended the chances of survival were
Indeed, the teams moved swiftly on, leaving local
residents and civil protection workers to delve for the dead.
A flicker of hope came when French rescuers pulled Yousra
Hamenniche, 2 1/2, out of a hole cut into the roof of an
But her release after 39 hours was bitter-sweet for her
father, who told a familiar tale: six members of his family
were believed dead inside.
Tens of thousands settled down for a third night sleeping
in the open, still worried that after-shocks could bring down
buildings weakened by the earth's shudders.
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