TIDJELABINE, Algeria – A strong temblor rocked already quake-ravaged areas of Algeria (search), collapsing a 15-story building with three people inside and injuring more than 200 others, the interior ministry said.
The building in Reghaia, in the quake zone, had been evacuated following the devastating earthquake last Wednesday. Three people were inside recovering belongings Tuesday evening when it collapsed in a magnitude 5.8 tremor, said Mohamed Kendil, the interior ministry's secretary general.
Algerian state radio said at least three people were presumed dead from the latest quake, although it was not immediately clear if they were the ones trapped in the collapsed building.
Kendil, speaking on Algerian television, said more than 200 people were injured. It was the strongest of several aftershocks to rock the quake area east of the capital Algiers since last week's temblor.
At least one home in the quake-ravaged town of Boumerdes collapsed, state radio said. In one Algiers hotel, panicked visitors ran out of the building.
Another tremor Wednesday morning sent people running into the streets again in Algiers, although there were no immediate reports of casualties
Meanwhile, the Islamic party El-Islah oua El-Irched set up a camp for the homeless and handed out food and water, showing itself ready to fill the vacuum of aid distribution left by the government following the May 21 quake, which killed 2,218 people and injured more than 9,000 others.
Many residents have fled their homes and are living in the streets or in tents set up in parks out of fear of aftershocks.
Anger has mounted at what residents say is the slow government response to last week's quake. The ire has provided an opening for Muslim fundamentalists in a nation wracked by civil war since 1992. About 120,000 people have died in the fighting.
Interior Minister Yazid Noureddine Zerhouni (search) was greeted during a visit to Bordj El Kiffan Monday with cries of "police state, dictatorship" and "Leave. We don't need you," the newspaper Le Matin reported.
Witnesses said the minister apparently lost his temper and threatened to withhold aid.
"He poked me in the chest and told me: 'There will be neither tents nor any other kind of aid for you if you're going to riot," said Abderrahmane Khodja, the head of a residents' committee in an apartment complex that collapsed, leaving 150 families homeless.
Still, most quake victims said they didn't care about politics, but just want tents, medicines, clean water and blankets.
"We are victims of an earthquake," said Djamel Zidi, a 39-year-old teacher, his voice rising in anger. "We haven't time for politics."