Algeria - Earthquake OCHA Situation Report No. 1

Situation Report
Originally published
OCHA/GVA - 99/0261
Algeria - Earthquake
OCHA Situation Report No. 1
23 December 1999


1. An earthquake hit northwest Algeria on Wednesday, 22 December 1999 at 18:37 hours local time (17:37 GMT). According to the United States Geological Survey, the earthquake measured 5.5 on the Richter scale, while the Swiss Seismological Service indicated 5.2 and the media reported 5.8 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.

2. The Ministry of Interior confirmed that 22 people died and 49 people were hospitalized. The media reported 175 people were injured. Several houses reportedly collapsed in the town of Ain Temouchent 450 km (280 miles) west of Alger. The tremor was also felt in Oran, Tlemcen and Mascara. A slight tremor was also felt in the northeastern Moroccan city of Oujda, near the Algerian border, according to the media. The earthquake caused no damage to a major oil and gas export terminal and refinery at Arzew, east of Oran, the media quoted energy officials.

3. The Government of Algeria has been controlling the situation. The Government reported that roughly 500 tents and 1,000 blankets were sent to the area, along with rescue teams. The Minister of Interior and the Minister of Health traveled to the region today, 23 December.

4. OCHA is in contact with the Office of the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Alger as well as other agencies such as UNHCR and IFRC in Geneva and will transmit further details, as they become available.

5. This Situation Report and further information on ongoing emergencies are also available on the OCHA Internet Website at:

Telephone number: + 41-22-917-12 34
In case of emergency only: + 41-22- 917 20 10

Desk Officer: Ms. Yasuko Sawada, Associate Humanitarian Affairs Officer,
Disaster Response Branch, direct Tel: + 41 22 917 1768

Contact person for the media: Mr. Donato Kiniger-Passigli, direct Tel: +41-22-917 2653

Telex 4142 42 OCHA CH
Fax: + 41-22 917 00 23

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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