With all hope of finding more survivors gone, officials today ordered bulldozers to clear the streets of this earthquake-devastated city.
Rain continued to pour over the area today, adding to the ordeal of the homeless and hampering relief operations.
Government planning experts said the city -- which had a population before the earthquake Oct. 10 of about 125,000 -- probably will be rebuilt near its original site, but this time using earthquake-proof construction techniques.
No official death toll was available eight days after the disaster. About 6,000 bodies have been recovered from the rubble so far, and officials have released estimates that about 20,000 people died in the quake.
Workers using dogs and electronic devices probed pockets of the ruined area to make certain no survivors remained before the bulldozers moved in. The last person pulled alive from the rubble was found Thursday.
Troops combed the city, shooting dogs and cats on sight in an effort to prevent the spread of disease. A French physician reported that several cases of cholera had been detected.
Government officials, meanwhile, examined surrounding areas for a suitable site to build the new Al Asnam.
"According to our experts, rebuilding Al Asnam far away in a supposedly safe area would be as unrealistic as trying to move North Algeria down into the Sahara," said Mohammed Benhallou, director of the National Astronomical, Astrophysical and Geophysical Institute.
Benhallou said earthquakes similar to the one eight days ago and in 1954, when 1,450 persons died, can be expected again within 20 to 30 years.
A slight aftershock was felt today. The tremors that have been shaking the district since last week have caused geological distrubances such as the diversion of a river and the emergence of new springs that have caused flooding of roads.
An acute shortage of tents was still badly felt in the region.
Houses collapsed earlier in the week in the villages of Ouled Bessem, Amari and Tissemsilt near Al Asnam, adding to the estimated 400,000 homeless. Authorities have distributed 7,000 tents but said 30,000 more would be needed to accommodate people now sleeping on the rain-soaked ground.
In Sendjas, a few miles south of Al Asnam, 27,000 homeless were reported to be sharing 200 tents.
Authorities are also erecting prefabricated houses with financial support from many countries.
One man who said he does not want to live in a new Al Asnam is Sabih Mohammed, 73. He survived the 1954 earthquake and this week was pulled from under a block of concrete where he had lain for three days.
Both his legs were broken. His wife and four children are still missing.