Sunday, October 1, 2023

Rescuers are stepping up efforts to find survivors of the Morocco earthquake

Rescue teams redoubled their efforts on Wednesday to help Moroccan mountain villages devastated by the powerful earthquake that killed nearly 3,000 people, but hopes of finding survivors are fading five days after the disaster.

The earthquake, which shook a mountainous region of the High Atlas southwest of the tourist city of Marrakech (center), left 2,946 dead and 5,674 injured, according to the latest official tally on Friday evening.

Given the extent of the damage, Morocco accepted the help of Spain, the United Kingdom, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, which provided search and rescue teams to the Kingdom.

The Red Cross requested more than $100 million to address urgent needs, including health, water, sanitation and hygiene, after providing an initial emergency fund.

The earthquake caused devastating damage in mountain villages that were often difficult to access, such as Ineghede, where eleven of the 200 residents died.

“We lost everything,” says Mohamed al Mutawak, a 56-year-old farmer.

In Amizmiz, a town an hour southwest of Marrakesh, a group of soldiers distributed tents to residents left on the streets.

“I just ask for a place to live, a place worthy of a human being,” said Fatima Oumalloul, a 59-year-old resident.

– row of tents –

Three aid points have been set up in Taroudant (southwest) with food, blankets and mattresses, which will be sent by land or by helicopter depending on road conditions.

“We intervene in many places” where “vehicles cannot reach,” explained Captain Fahas Abdullah al Dosanri of the Qatari Fire Department.

In Tikht, a city where around 60 people died, the population also received help, such as baby diapers.

Despite the help, the survivors are worried about their immediate fate and are afraid of the onset of rain.

“The authorities didn’t tell us anything about this,” says Afrah Fuzia from the village of Tikht. “Soon it will start to rain, it will get colder and there will be a lot of children here,” adds the 18-year-old girl.

Moroccan Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch assured on Monday that people who lost their homes would be compensated.

The Moroccan army set up field hospitals to care for the wounded in remote areas, such as the town of Asni in the affected Al Haouz province, just over an hour from Marrakesh.

Equipment Ministry teams continued their work on Wednesday to reopen roads leading to small mountain towns in this province, a ministry official told AFP.

“We have cleared the road leading to the town of Ighil, the epicenter of the earthquake, and the nearby town of Aghbar,” he said.

The earthquake had a magnitude of 7, according to the Moroccan Center for Scientific and Technical Research, and a magnitude of 6.8, according to U.S. geological surveys.

It is the strongest ever recorded in the kingdom and the deadliest in the kingdom in more than six decades.

Pope Francis, who visited Morocco in 2019, said Wednesday his thoughts were with the “noble Moroccan people.”

“We pray for Morocco, we pray for its people. May the Lord give them the strength to recover,” the Argentine pope said.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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