This Sunday, rescuers accelerated the search for possible survivors trapped under the rubble of towns devastated in Morocco by a violent earthquake, which has already left 2,122 dead.
The earthquake that occurred on Friday night, of magnitude 6.8 according to the American geological services and 7 according to the Moroccan center for scientific and technical research, was the most powerful since there are modern records in this North African kingdom.
The earthquake left at least 2,122 dead and 2,421 injured, according to the latest report from the Ministry of the Interior communicated on Sunday afternoon.
“Public authorities are still mobilized to accelerate rescue operations and evacuation of the injured,” said the Ministry of the Interior.
The province of Al Haouz, the epicenter of the earthquake, was the hardest hit, followed by Taroudant. In these two areas located southwest of the tourist city of Marrakech, the earthquake destroyed entire villages.
On Sunday, many residents went to hospitals in this city to donate blood for the victims.
“I lost everything,” lamented Lahcen, a man who lost his wife and four children in the rural town of Moulay Brahim, in the High Atlas mountain area.
“The only thing I want is to get away from the world and grieve,” said the father of the family who was saved from dying because he was outside his house at the time of the earthquake.
The earthquake left at least 2,122 dead and 2,421 injured, according to the latest balance from the Ministry of the Interior. AP Photo
The town of Tafeghaghte, a few kilometers to the west, was practically destroyed by the earthquake, whose epicenter was located just fifty kilometers away, according to an AFP team.
“Three of my grandchildren (12, 8 and 4 years old) and their mother died. They are all under the ruins,” said a devastated Omar Benhanna, 72 years old.
On Saturday, many of the survivors went to the cemetery for the burial of about 70 people, in devastating ceremonies marked by screams and tears.
The kingdom decreed three days of national mourning on Saturday and leaders from around the world, from Spain and France to Israel and the United States, sent condolences to Rabat.
Even Algeria, a neighboring country at odds with Morocco, opened its airspace that has been closed for two years to planes transporting humanitarian aid and evacuating the wounded.
The World Bank affirmed that it will provide “its full support” to the country.
Spain sent a team of 56 rescuers and 4 search dogs from the Military Emergency Unit (UME) to Marrakech on Sunday, after receiving a formal request from the Moroccan kingdom, and is preparing a second plane.
A strong earthquake of magnitude 6.9 shook the northern Moroccan region of Marrakech this Friday, generating destruction and panic among residents, who ran out of buildings.
“We will send what is necessary because everyone knows that these first hours are key, especially if there are people buried under the rubble,” declared Defense Minister Margarita Robles on public television.
Other countries, such as the United States, Italy, the United Kingdom and Israel, also offered their help to Morocco.
French President Emmanuel Macron declared on Sunday that his country is ready to “intervene” when the Moroccan authorities “deem it necessary.”
The International Red Cross warned Saturday that the country’s needs are enormous, and anticipates “many months and even years of response.”
On Saturday night, Moroccan television channels broadcast aerial images showing destroyed villages in the Al Haouz area, where the buildings are made of clay.
A few steps from Marrakech’s city hall, where parts of the city’s 12th-century walls are damaged or partially collapsed, some people gathered up the blankets with which they spent the night on the grass.
Maria, a Spanish tourist, spent the night outside the narrow streets of the old town and prepared to “continue her journey as normal” towards Fez, further north.
In addition to Marrakech and the surrounding regions, the tremor was felt in Rabat, Casablanca, Agadir or Easouira, where many residents left their homes in panic in the middle of the night.
This is the deadliest earthquake to hit this kingdom since the quake that destroyed Agadir, on the west coast, on February 29, 1960. Then, almost 15,000 people died, a third of the city’s population.