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Earthquake in Algeria Kills More Than 1,000 - 2003-05-23


Algeria's Interior Minister says more than 1,000 people were killed and nearly seven-thousand injured in the country's worst earthquake in decades.

Noureddine Yazid Zerhouni said Thursday those numbers are still preliminary figures. He said the fate of people believed to be buried under collapsed buildings and other rubble is still not known.

Rescue workers, soldiers and civilians are still searching for victims in the densely populated region along the Mediterranean coast. Members of the Algerian Red Crescent were on the scene to help victims, and France and Germany have sent rescue teams with tracking equipment and search dogs.

Local hospitals were overrun with the flood of victims of Wednesday's quake, and many patients were receiving treatment outside. Algerian officials have called for doctors and paramedics to provide help, and for citizens to donate blood.

President Bush in a statement Thursday said the United States stands ready to help in the rescue efforts, and expressed sadness for the deaths.

Most of the deaths occurred in and around the cities of Roubia and Thenia -- the quake's epicenter, located about 60-kilometers east of Algiers.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the quake registered 6.7 on the open-ended Richter scale.

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