‘The air is so hot that it burns the eyes’

'The air is so hot that it burns the eyes'

In Algeria, violent fires have ravaged the north and east of the country, claiming at least 34 lives since July 23. The capital, meanwhile, is running at a snail’s pace. The inhabitants of Algiers describe their daily life as extremely difficult due to the heat wave.

First modification:

2 min

With RFI correspondent in Algiers, Fayçal Métaoui, and AFP

An exceptional heat wave has been hitting Algeria for weeks, with scorching temperatures that have sometimes exceeded 49 degrees. Violent fires have ravaged the northeast of the country since Sunday, fueled by drought and strong winds. According to the latest figures released by the authorities, 34 people have died and several have been injured.

Northern and eastern Algeria often suffer from major fires in summer, a phenomenon that worsens year by year due to climate change, bringing droughts and heat waves. In August 2022, 37 people died in the El Taref region, while the deadliest summer in decades was 2021, with more than 90 deaths.

“I feel like my head is going to explode”

In Algiers, the city slows down and its inhabitants try to adapt to a situation never seen before. The heat wave continues even during the night. Yassine, a YouTuber known for his travels, verified it the hard way: “At 48 degrees, you can imagine that the air current that hits me is hot, it almost burns! The air current is so hot that it burns the eyes. There really is nobody out there,” he says.

Salim, a young businessman, has changed his work schedule: “I suffer from the heat. I get tired at work. I can’t sleep. I drink a lot of water and avoid going out during the day, except to go to my workplace. But in recent days I have reduced my working hours due to the heat wave. The temperature has approached 50 degrees. I have to think about my physical integrity,” he says.

In a minimarket in the center of Algiers, Karima and Fella buy bottles of water. They have left home to go to medical appointments. “We went out because we had to. I had to see my doctor with whom I had an appointment, otherwise I wouldn’t go out. I already feel like my head is going to explode,” she says. “I had to take my daughter-in-law to the hospital. I suffer from hypertension, diabetes and heart disease. I have no reason to go out,” adds the other.


In the El Hamiz market, east of the capital, demand for air conditioners has skyrocketed, as have prices. “Prices start at 50,000 dinars [unos 335 euros]. There is a high demand for these products due to the high temperatures. There are air conditioning units in sufficient quantities for all prices and all pockets. Everyone buys according to their possibilities,” says a seller.

According to the weather service, temperatures will not return to their seasonal values ​​until early August.

Source link