29 die, dozens hurt in
Dozens hurt in oasis area of
The Associated Press,
Hundreds of people had to be rescued by helicopter and up to 600 houses were destroyed in the rains Tuesday and Wednesday around the medieval town of
"Following these floods, we can sadly declare that 29 people have died," Ali Belkhir, the country's head of public health, told national radio.
An Interior Ministry statement later confirmed the death toll of 29 and said another person was still missing. While Belkhir said 84 people had been injured, the Interior Ministry lowered that number to 48, including three people in serious condition in the hospital.
Interior Minister Yazid Zerhouni had initially reported 13 dead after flying over the zone. Radio reports said there could be more damage in outlying oasis towns.
Phone lines to the area were disrupted Thursday, and local officials could not be reached for comment.
Ghardaia, 370 miles south of
The storms this week caused a local wadi or seasonal river that remains dry for most of the year to rise at some points by 26 feet within hours, APS said.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.