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Last Updated: Friday, 23 May, 2003, 09:10 GMT 10:10 UK
Sniffer dogs sent to Algeria
earthquake damage in Algeria
The dog teams will help with rescue efforts in Algeria
British dog handlers have flown out to help hunt for survivors of the Algerian earthquake.

The tremor - centred east of the capital Algiers on Wednesday - has killed at least 1,092 and injured 6,782 others.

Dog handling teams from Leicestershire Fire Service and fire officers from Lincolnshire are among the teams that will help search for people still trapped under rubble.

Two dogs from Leicestershire have flown to Algiers with their handlers and two support staff.

Worst in years

Sniffer dogs Max and Gemma are specially trained to recover people from the wreckage of buildings.

Station Officer Ian Holden from Leicestershire said: "We got an alert yesterday to get our equipment ready to fly out as soon as possible.

"There are 46 firefighters from across the country going, including men from Grampian, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Lincolnshire and Leicestershire."

The dogs and their handlers left Stansted airport on a specially chartered plane at 1900 BST on Thursday.

The earthquake had a magnitude of 6.7 on the Richter scale and could be felt as far away as Spain.

The earthquake was the worst to affect Algeria for more than 20 years.

Sniffer dogs have been sent to Turkey and Gujarat in India in the past to help in earthquake rescues.

In pictures: Algeria earthquake
22 May 03  |  Photo Gallery

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