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Devastating Earthquake in Morocco Claims Over 2,100 Lives

Survivors Struggle for Basic Necessities After Morocco Earthquake

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Following the devastating earthquake in Morocco, survivors faced immense challenges in obtaining basic necessities such as food, water, and shelter. The search for the missing individuals continued in remote villages, and the death toll surged past 2,100, with fears that it would rise further.

Many people were left with no choice but to spend their third consecutive night exposed to the elements, as the quake had caused significant damage to numerous houses in the rugged mountainous region of the High Atlas.

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Moreover, the destruction extended to Morocco’s cultural heritage, leading to the collapse of a renowned 12th-century mosque and damage to parts of Marrakech old city, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Among the affected villages, Moulay Brahim, situated 40 km south of Marrakech, witnessed its residents resorting to using their bare hands to extract deceased individuals from the rubble. The heart-wrenching scene unfolded as a 45-year-old woman and her 18-year-old son were laid to rest, leaving an onlooker sobbing uncontrollably.

Amidst the wreckage, Hussein Adnaie, while salvaging his belongings, expressed his belief that people were still trapped beneath the debris, explaining that the inadequate rescue efforts led to their unfortunate demise. Another resident, Yassin Noumghar, aged 36, voiced concerns about the scarcity of water, food, and electrical power, emphasizing the minimal assistance received from the government.

In response to the crisis, the government and civil society organizations coordinated efforts to distribute sacks of food in Moulay Brahim, providing some relief for the affected population. Meanwhile, the death toll escalated to 2,122, marking it as the deadliest earthquake in Morocco since 1960 when an estimated 12,000 lives were lost in a similar disaster.

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In the severely impacted village of Amizmiz, onlookers watched as rescue teams employed mechanical diggers to retrieve victims trapped underneath the rubble of collapsed houses. Despite their efforts, only lifeless bodies were found.

The Moroccan army established a camp equipped with tents to accommodate those left homeless by the disaster. However, with most shops damaged or closed, residents faced significant challenges in securing essential supplies.

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To address the formidable situation, the government announced urgent measures, including reinforcing search and rescue teams, providing drinking water, and distributing food, tents, and blankets. Recognizing the gravity of the situation, France extended its support to Morocco and stood ready to assist upon the formal request of the Moroccan government.

their willingness to aid the affected nation, other countries, such as Turkey and Qatar, also offered their assistance.

By Sunday, the Turkish team had not yet departed, while Spain confirmed receiving a formal request for help from Morocco. A team consisting of 56 officers and four sniffer dogs promptly arrived in the country. Responding to the disaster, the United States sent a small team of disaster experts to assess the situation on the ground.

Caroline Holt, the global director of operations for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), emphasized the importance of the upcoming 2-3 days in locating any survivors trapped under the debris. She mentioned that the international aid system awaited an invitation from the Moroccan government, which is a customary process to evaluate the most pressing needs.

The World Health Organization reported that over 300,000 people had been affected by the earthquake, prompting a response from various humanitarian organizations. Pope Francis extended his prayers and expressed solidarity with the victims.

In response to the calamity, Morocco declared three days of mourning, and King Mohammed VI called upon mosques across the country to hold prayers for the departed souls. The earthquake, with a magnitude of 6.8, originated 72 km southwest of Marrakech.

Known for its architectural wonders and captivating charm, Marrakech attracts both locals and foreign tourists due to its medieval mosques, palaces, and seminaries, featuring intricate mosaic tiling amidst a network of alluring rose-hued alleyways.

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