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|05-22-2003, 06:21 PM||#1|
Join Date: Feb 25, 2003
Quake Toll Passes 1000
POSTED AT 3:40 PM EDT Thursday, May 22
Quake toll passes 1,000
Algiers — Rescue workers struggled to save survivors and international aid workers rushed to Algeria on Thursday after the most devastating earthquake in two decades struck near the capital, killing almosts 1,100 people and injuring thousands.
The 6.7 quake Wednesday night crumbled apartment houses, knocked down walls and toppled trees in the area east of Algiers. Weeping survivors walked amid debris and hospitals were choked with the injured. Many warned the death toll would increase.
"Unfortunately we have not finished establishing these increasingly tragic figures," Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia said. "What is worrying is that there are still many under the rubble."
Algerian state radio put the current toll at 1,092 dead and more than 6,700 injured, the official APS news agency reported. The earthquake was the most devastating to hit Algeria since a 7.1 quake struck west of the capital on Oct. 10, 1980, killing 2,500 people.
French TV footage showed helmeted rescue workers digging furiously through the rubble of collapsed apartment buildings and houses. One man said he saw panicked people jumping from a hotel window.
The quake was deadliest in towns near the epicentre about 65 kilometres east of Algiers, the capital. It struck about 7:45 p.m., cutting electricity in some neighbourhoods and sparking panic throughout the city. About 10 aftershocks rippled through the area in the following hours, though the city was calm by Thursday afternoon.
"It was a great shock," said Mohcine Douali, who lives in central Algiers. "I ran out to the street with my wife and my two daughters, and no one has been able to sleep because of the aftershocks."
The U.S. Geological Survey, which monitors quakes round the world, said the quake had a preliminary magnitude of 6.7, but Algerian officials put it much lower, at 5.2. The cause of the discrepancy was not immediately clear.
Numerous towns throughout the Boumerdes region east of Algiers were devastated, and residents swarmed to hospitals seeking treatment for injuries or news of loved ones. Dozens of bodies were laid out, their families weeping over them.
In Algiers, several building collapsed, reducing homes to piles of rubble mixed with kitchen utilities, clothing or a bicycle, and cracks appeared in buildings still standing.
People thronged the streets, preferring to be outdoors for fear of another aftershock. Some schools were opened to take in people whose homes were unsafe.
"I saw the earth tremble. I saw people jump from the window of the hotel," a Boumerdes resident, Icham Mouiss, told French television station LCI.
Interior Minister Nouredine Yazid Zerhouni travelled to the worst-hit areas. A call for blood donors was issued, and medical personnel and employees of Sonelgaz, the state company that supplies electricity, were asked to pitch in and help.
In Paris, Algerians living in France were desperate for news of their families. Dozens crowded around a counter at the city's Orly airport, hoping to buy plane tickets home.
"The whole city centre has been razed to the ground," said M'Hamed Harkane, 34, a nurse from Thenia. "I have my father, my mother and my brother there. I don't know if they're dead — they probably are."
France sent two rescue teams of 60 members each on Thursday to help with the disaster in its former colony, and French officials were in contact with Algeria to see what additional help would be needed. French President Jacques Chirac sent his condolences Thursday to Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
Germany sent rescue experts, search dogs and special recovery equipment. Japan also sent an 18-member rescue team Thursday and plans to send a 43-member team, including police and fire officials and two rescue dogs in Friday.
Hundreds of Algerian Red Crescent staff and volunteers administered first aid to the injured and transported them to hospitals.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies was sending a team. Authorities said they feared the earthquake had damaged health facilities, as well as the water and sanitation infrastructure.
A hospital in the town of Baghlia was seriously damaged and numerous roofs in towns around the epicentre had caved in, the Interior Ministry said.
Lucy Jones, scientist in charge of the U.S. Geological Survey office in Pasadena, Calif., said Wednesday's quake most likely occurred on a blind-thrust fault along the boundary between the African and Eurasian plates. Blind-thrust faults produce earthquakes when one block pushes upward over another, as if moving up a ramp.
There is no such thing as revenge
You will not give as good as you got
There is no such thing as an eye for an eye
If you think you're the giver, you're not
There is no such thing as regret
There is no point in placing the blame
Hate destroys the one who hates
And everyone suffers the same
There is only love and respect
To thine own self be true
When you point the finger
There are three fingers pointing back at you
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