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Flash floods ravage Saharan town

 Flash floods ravage Saharan town
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At least thirty people have died in flash floods in the Algerian oasis town of Ghardaia. Officials say 50 others have been injured.

The rains came in the early hours of Thursday morning forcing people to take to the roofs of their houses. Some streets of the settlement on the northern edge of the Sahara, remain submerged.

The town, 700 kilometres south of the capital Algiers, is home to 100,000 people.

Between 300 and 600 houses have been inundated. Gas and electricity supplies have been cut and food stores waterlogged.

Eight of the 13 districts in the surrounding province have been affected by the floods and, it is feared, more rain is on the way.

One local resident, Kacem Bouhdiba said the people have had to cope alone: “We asked the government to help us because of what happened. As you can see we’ve lost everything, our money, our furniture, even our animals have died. We have lost everything because of this catastrophe.”

Troops have been deployed to prevent looting but the rescue effort is limited. The search for survivors goes on but the extent of the damage caused by the flash floods has given rise to fears that the number of fatalities will rise.