An unprecedented heat wave hit Tunisia and Algeria resulting in massive power cuts and numerous outbreaks of fire. In Algeria, fires left 15 dead and 26 injured overnight from Sunday to Monday.
The global thermometer continues to panic. Tunisia came close on Monday July 24, even in the more temperate north of the country, to 50 degrees, or 6 to 10 degrees more than normal for the season, causing power cuts and forcing families to sleep on the beaches.
In neighboring Algeria, the authorities are on alert, with peaks that can reach 48 degrees locally in five eastern prefectures: Jijel, Skikda, Annaba, El Tarf and Guelma, placed in “orange vigilance”.
Following this “unprecedented heat wave”, the public energy group Sonelgaz said it recorded a peak consumption of 18,697 megawatts on Sunday. Air conditioners have become overpriced (more than 500 euros against 300 previously) or impossible to find.
In both countries, fire starts have been recorded in the midst of overheated vegetation and deprived of water for weeks.
In Algeria, forest and maquis fires left 15 dead and 26 injured overnight from Sunday to Monday, and made it necessary to evacuate 1,500 people in northern and eastern areas. On the other side of the border with Algeria, near Tabarka in northwestern Tunisia, new fires broke out, after the extinction of the first fires in the middle of the week.
Intensive use of air conditioning
These abnormally high temperatures for the month of July have caused power cuts in recent days. The public company Steg explained that it decided to preserve the performance of the network. These load shedding takes place for half an hour to an hour, in particular at times of high consumption.
On July 10, a record electricity consumption was reached at 4,692 megawatts, due to intensive use of air conditioning.
Tunisians from working-class neighborhoods, often without air conditioning, come in the evening to sleep in tents on the beaches of Carthage or La Marsa, north of Tunis.
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On social networks, many Tunisians are ironic about the heat peak expected on Monday, comparing Tunisia to a “kanoun”, a traditional brazier.
Others have posted prayers for the heat wave that has lasted more than two weeks to end.
Elsewhere in the Maghreb, Morocco and Libya, temperatures were more in line with seasonal norms.
Source: France 24