Desperation and Devastation: Morocco Grapples with Earthquake Aftermath

As Morocco faces its deadliest earthquake in six decades, rescue and relief efforts are in a dire race against time to locate survivors in remote regions. The disaster has already claimed over 2,000 lives, injured thousands, and led to severe infrastructural damage, even affecting the UNESCO World Heritage site in Marrakesh.

by Fatima Abass

Friday’s earthquake in Morocco has triggered a humanitarian crisis, leaving the country scrambling to save those trapped under the rubble. The 6.8-magnitude quake, which struck primarily in remote mountainous villages south of Marrakesh, is the deadliest the nation has seen in 60 years. According to official reports, at least 2,122 individuals have lost their lives, and more than 2,421 have sustained injuries, many of them critical.

With fallen rocks obstructing already precarious roads leading into the High Atlas mountains, where the brunt of the destruction occurred, rescue teams are struggling to bring in essential machinery and supplies. Locals are left to rely on rudimentary tools like shovels and their bare hands in desperate attempts to find survivors.

King Mohammed VI has declared three days of national mourning as the grim reality of the catastrophe continues to unfold. Civil protection units are working to bolster resources like blood banks, water, food, and tents, but many affected areas remain unreachable in the critical hours following the disaster.

The small town of Amizmiz, located 34 miles south of Marrakesh, serves as a haunting snapshot of the widespread devastation. The local hospital, deemed too risky to operate in, stands empty. Medical staff are left to treat patients in makeshift tent clinics on the hospital grounds, overwhelmed by the influx of injured and deceased. “There were so many dead people, especially young children. Since the earthquake, I haven’t slept. None of us have,” said a hospital official who requested anonymity.

Outside the hospital, the grim tableau continues. Streets are cluttered with debris, residents wander in a daze, and emergency tents dot the landscape for those who have lost their homes. Yet, even these are insufficient. “The tents the government distributed are not enough,” said Ali Ait Youssef, a resident of Amizmiz.

International support has started to ramp up, with countries like the UK, Spain, and Qatar pledging to send emergency response teams, including rescue specialists and search dogs. France and the United States have also indicated readiness to help but await formal requests from Morocco.

Caroline Holt from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) emphasized that the coming “two to three days will be critical for finding people trapped under the rubble.”

The aftermath of the earthquake stretches far beyond the epicenter. Residents along the southern Atlantic coast are also reeling from the tragedy. “My family has lost their homes, their belongings—they have nothing left. People are starving. Children just want water. They need help,” lamented Hakima, a resident who fled her village, Msouna, after losing four relatives.

As Morocco grapples with this monumental crisis, the need for immediate aid and long-term recovery support becomes painfully evident. The race against time continues, but the scale of devastation indicates that the country will be wrestling with the ramifications of this disaster for years to come.

(Associated Medias) – All right reserved