Boumerdes Algeria 2003 (CAR)

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Event ID
200305211844
Event name
Boumerdes
Country
Algeria
Epicentral coordinates (long/lat)
POINT(3.69 36.88)
WKT GIS format
GEMECD contributing partner
CAR
Event narrative

On Wednesday 21st May 2003, at 19:44 local time, a damaging earthquake of moment magnitude 6.8 and focal depth of 12 km struck the region of Boumerdés, around 50 km east of Algiers in northern Algeria.

The main shock’s epicentre (36.88°N, 3.69°E) was around 10 km offshore Zemmouri town and triggered a tsunami with damaging waves of 1–3 m amplitude along the southern coasts of the Balearic Islands (Spain) where damage to vessels in harbors was reported.

In the USGS EXPO-CAT database it is estimated that during this earthquake 2,262,000 people were exposed to intensity VII or greater, of which around 7% were in rural areas.

The main shock, which lasted ~40 seconds, had devastating effects and claimed 2278 lives (61% in Boumerdés and 39% in Algiers province respectively), caused 11,450 injuries (30% in Boumerdés and 59% in Algiers province respectively), and left about 180,000 people homeless.

Date of occurrence (UTC)
2003-05-21
date
Time of occurrence (UTC)
18:44:00
time
Date of occurrence (local)
2003-05-21
date
Time of occurrence (local)
19:44:00
time
Day of the week (local)
Wednesday
Magnitude
6.8
Magnitude units
Moment (Mw)
Focal depth
12
km
Seismological data: source
USGS
Seismological data: comment

ShakeMap Atlas

Overall impact

The earthquake caused the collapse of 10,280 buildings, while in total around 23,000 buildings including 6000 public buildings were either destroyed or damaged beyond repair.

Losses due to this earthquake were estimated at $5 billion (approximately 6% of Algeria’s GDP in 2003).

Buildings in the affected region were predominantly reinforced concrete (RC) frame structures with hollow brick infill walls. In addition dual RC frame-shear wall and RC shear wall structures (usually for buildings with 12 or more storeys) as well as old unreinforced masonry are also found, while steel frames are quite common in industrial and agro-industrial buildings. For housing mid-rise and tall apartment buildings provided mostly by the state and private (low-rise) houses can be found.

The most lethal structural failure was the collapse of a ten-storeyed reinforced concrete frame apartment building in the city of Reghaia, where apparently at least 400 lives were lost. Nearby this building another 16-storey apartment building damaged in the main shock collapsed during the May 27, 2003 aftershock killing 9 occupants who had ventured inside the building to collect belongings.

Post-earthquake damage surveys suggested that damage was more due to structural and quality control deficiencies than due to geotechnical problems. It was noted that buildings erected during Algeria’s civil unrest period (predominantly in 1991-2000) were more vulnerable than buildings constructed in the 1980s.

Overview data
Loss: Human Casualty
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People injured
11450
number
People injured: source
CAR estimate

People seriously injured: status
N/A

People missing
45
number
People missing: source
CAR estimate

People killed
2278
number
People killed: source
CAR estimate

People killed due to ground shaking
2278
number
People killed due to ground shaking: source
CAR estimate

People dying post catastrophe due to shaking
9
number
People dying post catastrophe due to shaking: source
CAR estimate
People dying post catastrophe due to shaking: comment

Killed due to the collapse of 15 story building that was damaged in the moanshock


People missing due to tsunami
0
number
People killed due to tsunami
0
number
People missing due to fire following
0
number
People killed due to fire following
0
number
People missing due to slope failures
0
number
People killed due to slope failures
0
number
Loss: Building damage
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Total number of buildings destroyed by shaking
23072
number
Total number of buildings destroyed by shaking: source
CAR estimate
Total number of buildings destroyed by shaking: comment

in Algiers & Boumerdes wilaya


Number of buildings damaged by shaking
73972
number
Number of buildings damaged by shaking: source
CAR estimate
Number of buildings damaged by shaking: comment

in Algiers & Boumerdes wilaya


Number of dwellings destroyed by shaking
19000
number
Number of dwellings destroyed by shaking: source
CAR estimate
Number of dwellings destroyed by shaking: comment

in all the affected wilayas


Number of dwellings damaged by shaking
109500
number
Number of dwellings damaged by shaking: source
CAR estimate
Number of dwellings damaged by shaking: comment

in all the affected wilayas


Loss: Socioeconomic
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People homeless
180000
number
People homeless: source
CAR estimate
People homeless: comment

incl. short-term homeless


Direct economic loss
5000
million US$
Direct economic loss: source
EERI
Direct economic loss: comment

excl. insured losses


Indirect economic loss: status
N/A

Insured loss
10
million US$
Insured loss: source
Munich Re

Demographics
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Total number of buildings: status
N/A