Thousands of people in Algeria are still living in the streets, unable or afraid to go back to quake-damaged homes.
The quake has killed more than 1,000 people, according to according to reports from Action by Churches Together (ACT), a global coalition of faith-based relief and response agencies.
Algerian government reports indicated the death toll had reached 1,500, with 7,000 people injured.
Officials report that the death toll will increase in the coming days. Many people were still missing, and rescue crews continued to dig – with waning hopes – for survivors Friday.
Local residents are joining rescue teams in a race against time to free those who are still trapped beneath the rubble, reported ACT.
Hospitals throughout the quake zone are swamped by casualties and unable to cope with the situation. Many of the injured are receiving treatment in the open air.
Power lines and water to affected areas have been cut, and the extent of damage remains unknown. Entire apartment buildings were flattened in several areas.
Many Algerians have complained for years about shoddy housing. There is a severe housing shortage in Algiers, where it is not uncommon for 14 people to cram into a three-bedroom apartment.
ACT has been trying to contact personnel from the Protestant Church of Algeria, but with communications down, this has proven difficult.
The temblor ruptured underwater cables, cutting phone links to Algeria and disrupting international communications.
The quake, measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale, hit the northern region of Algeria Wednesday evening. Its epicenter was east of the capital of Algiers. Scores of aftershocks have rocked the area since then.
It was the North African nation's deadliest earthquake since a pair of temblors west of the capital killed about 5,000 people in October 1980, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
Wednesday’s quake was felt as far away as Spain, where it triggered 7-foot waves in Spain's Balearic Islands, 175 miles north of Algiers.
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