ENN Issue 9a
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ENN Issue 2b
North West Algeria Hit by Earthquake

August 1, 2009

Tessala Mountains, Algeria 

An earthquake hit northwest Algeria on July 31 18:37 hours local time (17:37 GMT). According to the United States Geological Survey, the earthquake measured 6.5 on the Richter scale, while the Swiss Seismological Service indicated 6.2 and the media reported 6.8 on the Richter scale. The epicenter was situated at latitude 35.17 degrees north and longitude 1.22 degrees west, in the mountains of Tessala. 

The Ministry of Interior confirmed that 92 people died and 199 people were hospitalized. The media reported 344 people were injured. Dozens of houses reportedly collapsed in the town of Ain Temouchent 450 km (280 miles) west of Alger. Tremors were also felt in Oran, Tlemcen and Mascara. 

Civilians dig through rubble in search for lost family members.

A slight tremor was also felt in the northeastern Moroccan city of Oujda, near the Algerian border, according to the local media. The earthquake caused some minor damage to a major oil and gas export terminal and refinery at Arzew, east of Oran, the media quoted energy officials. 

The Government of Algeria has been using most of its resources to control the situation. The Government reported that roughly 1000 tents and 2,000 blankets were sent to the area, along with rescue teams. The Minister of Interior and the Minister of Health traveled to the region today and made it clear they were open to any International Aid that is offered. 

( Kelly Crawford, ENN)

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