Kitchener Resident Survives Morocco Earthquake; Local Muslim Community Launches Relief Efforts

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Doha Amine, originally from Morocco but now a resident of Kitchener, found herself braving the brutal force of nature while on a trip to her homeland. A devastating earthquake, registering at a magnitude of 6.8, struck Morocco on a fateful Friday night, causing widespread destruction and taking the lives of over 2,100 individuals with the death toll still on the rise.

Despite being around 300 kilometers away from the epicenter of the disaster in the city of Casablanca, Amine vividly recollected the evening’s chilling events. An otherwise ordinary familial dinner was abruptly disrupted by the tremors of a seismic catastrophe. Panic ensued, if only for a few heart-stopping moments, before everyone sprinted into action to evacuate their building.

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Amine and her family resorted to sleeping out in the open for two nights. The terror of the earthquake’s transitory episode lingered, making the prospect of returning home fraught with anxiety, particularly for the elderly. Despite their residence being untouched by the calamity, the unpredictability induced by the horrifying event makes the familiar comforts of home feel, ironically, unsafe.

Amine, who safely made her way back to Kitchener by Monday, expressed her relief at her family’s well-being. However, the thought of those suffering in the aftermath of the disaster overshadowed her relief. Her deep sympathy was notably expressed for the affected children who saw their homes, schools, and hospitals vanish into the rubbles.

Parallel to the absorption of the seismic disaster’s aftermath, the Muslim community in Waterloo Region has taken to providing support to the victims affected by the Morocco earthquake and the floods in Libya that occurred on the following Sunday. To aid those grappling with the trauma of these tragic incidents, the Muslim Social Services of Kitchener-Waterloo, a not-for-profit organization, announced it would be offering free counselling and psychotherapy.

The organization’s Executive Director, Duaa Al-Aghar, emphasizes the importance of community support in navigating through the aftermath of such harrowing incidents. Al-Aghar underlined the mission of Muslim Social Services: to weave together a community that is strong, healthy, and potentially catastrophe-resistant. The organization further advocated for participation in a fundraiser dedicated to bolstering disaster relief efforts.

As rescue efforts intensify throughout the catastrophe-hit regions in Morocco, the quake’s death toll continues to mount, surpassing 2,400 mortalities. The displaced individuals from these regions are grappling not only with the trauma of their loss but also the fundamental concern of finding a shelter amid the devastation.