The African space industry is beneficial in many ways to the continent’s economic and sociopolitical affairs, and when this fact is expressly recognised by people in authority, it goes to show that great work is being done by stakeholders in the space sector.
The Algerian Minister of the Interior, Local Authorities and National Planning, Salah Eddine Dahmoune, on Tuesday, August 6, 2019, stressed on the importance of “reinforcing coordination” between the Civil Protection and the Algerian Space Agency (ASAL) in the management of natural disasters and forest fires.
During an assessment meeting on operations related to the summer season and the fight against forest fires, held at the headquarters of the Directorate General of Civil Protection (in the presence of the Director-General of the Civil Protection, Boualem Boughelaf), the Director-General of National Police (Abdelkader Kara Bouhadba), and a representative of the National Gendarmerie Command, Dahmoune said that “the strengthening of coordination between the civil protection and the Algerian Space Agency (ASAL) in the management of natural disasters, including forest fires, is needed to prevent damage”.
In this context, Dahmoune said that the government “anticipated a campaign to prevent forest fires through the multi-sectoral committee and agreed to provide each province with a mobile column,” adding that the province of Tizi Ouzou “currently has two mobile columns.”
After welcoming the efforts deployed by the People’s National Army to fight against forest fires that have recently affected some of the country’s provinces, Dahmoune called on Algerian nationals to “show good citizenship to preserve forests, the environment and public health.”
At the Houari Boumediene International Airport, Dahmoune inspected the Civil Defence Air Group and listened to the explanations, given to him, regarding the functions of the Group. The minister additionally announced the opening of several investigations by security services to identify those behind the latest series of forest fires and ensure strict application of the law against the perpetrators.
Human activity has been the main cause of the forest fires nationwide this summer, destroying more than 9,000 hectares and caused by 1,246 fires between June 1 and August 4, 2019. These activities include straw fires caused by some farmers to feed the soil with nutrients for their future cultivations, pastoral farms and wild dumps whose chemical products can cause fire starts, as well as holidaymakers who badly put out their barbecues in forests. The fires spread uncontrollably through different areas, including agricultural and forested areas, after numerous farmers and shepherds undertook indiscriminate burning of land, including grazing areas.
Jerry Chiemeke is an editor, writer and mental health advocate. His works have appeared in Bellanaija, True Nollywood Stories, Music In Africa and The Guardian, among others. Jerry is the winner of the 2017 Ken Saro Wiwa Prize for Reviews. He is a Senior Editor at Space in Africa.