Morocco earthquake: Villagers’ hopes waning in search for survivors.


epaselect epa10851583 The army recovers the corpses of earthquake victims, in Tafeghaghte, Morocco, 09 September 2023. A powerful earthquake that hit central Morocco late 08 September, killed 1,037 people and injured more than 1,200 others, the country's Interior Ministry announced on 09 September cited by public television. The earthquake, measuring magnitude 6.8 according to the USGS, damaged buildings from villages and towns in the Atlas Mountains to Marrakesh. EPA-EFE/JALAL MORCHIDI

Rescuers in Morocco have been using their bare hands as desperate search efforts continue for survivors of Friday’s powerful earthquake.

A total of 2,681 people are known to have died in the tremor – the country’s deadliest in 60 years.

Morocco’s government is under pressure to accept more international aid, as rescuers battle with exhaustion.

So far, it has accepted help from only four countries – Spain, the UK, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

Officials defended the response, and said it would be too chaotic if teams from around the world suddenly arrived in Morocco.

The 6.8 magnitude tremor hit the High Atlas mountains south of Marrakesh, and destroyed many rural and remote villages.

One of them – Tafeghaghte – has had its population of 200 people nearly halved, and many are still missing.

Heavy lifting equipment is struggling to get through roads blocked by boulders and other debris.

Helicopters have been making round trips to deliver aid to mountainous regions.

Albert Vasquez, a communications officer for a team of 30 Spanish firefighters, told the AFP news agency that “it’s very difficult to find people alive after three days” but “hope is still there”.

In the village of Moulay Brahim, 26-year-old Said told the BBC that he saw his neighbour’s house collapse.

“A family of six people lived there. The father was outside at the time and is still alive, but his wife and four children were there and died,” he said, in a state of shock.

“The daughters were 15, eight and five years old. The last child was a little boy about to turn three” he explained.

Said has not been able to sleep or eat since Friday night.

“The situation is catastrophic. I don’t know how I will recover from this,” he said.


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