Algiers — The Algerian city of El Asnam, devastated by an earthquake, will have to be entirely rebuilt, a relief expert said, adding that 250,000 to 300,000 people were made homesless in this northwestern area. Blankets and 50,000 tents were urgently needed to provide shelter from the cool nights. Food, water, and medicine were also in short supply. Officials said the final death toll could reach 20,000 or more.
Algerians have responded well to the relief effort, described officially as a demonstration of national solidarity. Aircraft are also bringing relief supplies from abroad, and the official media praised countries which had started sending aid. It listed them as Switzerland, Tunisia, Jordan, the Soviet Union, France, Syria, Yugoslavia, the United States, Lebanon, Italy, Hungary, Iraq, Cuba, the United Arab Emirates, Libya, Kuwait, and Canada, as well as the United Nations.