Morocco is enveloped in sorrow following the most devastating earthquake in its history, leaving over 2,000 dead and thousands more injured. The tragedy has sparked an international response, with various countries pledging aid.
Last Friday, a seismic event measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale occurred 45 miles southwest of Marrakesh, Morocco’s tourist centre, devastating entire communities in the Atlas mountains. The catastrophic earthquake has resulted in at least 2,012 confirmed deaths and over 2,000 injuries, many severe, according to the most recent official data.
An Unimaginable Loss
Villagers in the affected areas are struggling to cope with the scale of loss. Lahcen, from the mountain village of Moulay Brahim, shared his heartbreaking story. “I’ve lost everything,” he said, revealing that his wife and four children are among the deceased. Despite rescue efforts, the bodies of his three daughters have been found, but his wife and son remain missing.
Villages Wiped Off the Map
Rescue operations are frantically underway to reach those still trapped under the wreckage of their homes, particularly in remote mountain regions. Many of the buildings in these villages were made of mud bricks, offering little resistance to the quake’s force.
The hardest-hit area is Al-Haouz province, the earthquake’s epicentre, where 1,293 people have been reported dead. It is closely followed by Taroudant province with 452 fatalities.
Blood Donations and International Aid
Hospitals in Marrakesh were inundated with citizens eager to donate blood for the injured on Sunday. Countries including the United States, Spain, Israel, Italy, and France have offered assistance, with Spain set to send search and rescue teams upon Morocco’s formal request. Even Algeria, despite its historically strained relations with Morocco, has opened its airspace for humanitarian aid flights.
Tensions Rise in Marrakesh
In Marrakesh, often bustling with tourists, fear has pushed many to spend nights outdoors. Buildings have been compromised, with cracks rendering them unsafe. “We are in a chaotic state,” stated Fatema Satir, a local resident.
Long Road to Recovery
The International Red Cross has warned that the rebuilding process will not be swift. “We are counting on a response that will take months, if not years,” said Hossam Elsharkawi, the organisation’s director for the Middle East and North Africa.
A Nation Grieves
Morocco has declared three days of national mourning to honour the lives lost in the earthquake. The last earthquake of this magnitude in the country occurred in 1960 in Agadir, killing over 12,000. However, the recent earthquake has proved that despite the passage of time, the scars of such disasters run deep and the country faces a long and arduous path to recovery.
Amid the ongoing rescue efforts and international aid pouring in, one thing is abundantly clear: the people of Morocco are united in grief, facing a tragedy of incomprehensible magnitude.
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