Marrakech Quake Death Toll Surpasses 2,100: Rescue Operations Intensify Amid Aftermath


For three continuous nights, the streets of Marrakech, Morocco have become the reluctant beds of scores of people, as a horrifying earthquake of 6.8 magnitude ravages the ancient city. The quake’s tremors have not only echoed through heart of the city but have also been felt in remote mountain towns, making the aftermath a tremendous challenge for soldiers and international aid teams who are battling to provide assistance.

The daunting death toll surpasses 2,100 and continues to rise. The impact extends even further, with the United Nations estimating that the devastating quake affected 300,000 people directly. Amid this catastrophe, the Moroccan officials are judiciously managing the flood of international aid to address the crisis effectively. As of now, assistance is accepted from only four nations: Spain, Qatar, Britain, and the United Arab Emirates.

With each passing day, the urgency to excavate survivors from the rubble intensifies. However, the wait for official permission is causing apprehension among some aid teams who recognize the dire situation and are eager to provide their services. While the degree of devastation is vast, with whole sections of towns disappearing under debris, aid is slow to reach the hardest-hit, remote areas.

Rescue operations carry on the face of despair. Heavy-duty trucks loaded with soldiers arrive amidst cheering crowds, serving as glimmers of hope as they start clearing away the rubble. However, cries for additional assistance echo through these wrecked towns, as the existing resources fall short of addressing the vast scale of the crisis.

Fear of aftershocks hangs over those left homeless, leading many to sleep in the open streets under provisional shelters. The damage from the primary quake has been compounded by subsequent aftershocks, including a magnitude 3.9 shock, adding to the instability of already unsafe buildings and exacerbating the fear of further devastation.

Gloom presides in the Al Haouz district, which accounted for most of the casualties. The district, situated in the rugged High Atlas Mountains, saw walls of mud-bricked homes crumble under the strength of the seismic waves. The extent of the catastrophe prompted King Mohammed VI to declare three days of national mourning, order necessities and shelters for displaced victims, and mobilize the army to aid the rescue efforts.

While international aid has poured in from global quarters, Moroccan authorities have held off from making an international appeal, contrary to Turkey’s strategy following a massive quake earlier this year. Nevertheless, around 3,500 rescuers ready to deploy in Morocco are awaiting instructions on the UN platform.

The quake, rare and extremely powerful, originated near the town of Ighil in Al Haouz Province, a region famed for its picturesque valleys and intimate villages nestled within the High Atlas Mountains. The aftermath painted a distressing picture with towns devastated, homes collapsed, and despair etched on the faces of the survivors.

Amid the sorrow, resilience and solidarity are evident. Survivors have sprung into action, salvaging what they can from the remnants of their homes. Families are seen helping each other cope, the bonds of community being put to the test in the face of this grim tragedy.

Rescue teams persist in their efforts, searching tirelessly through the debris in remote areas such as Adassil, close to the epicenter. Military bulldozers and equipment are clearing the roads, enabling ambulances to ferry injured victims to the Mohammed VI University Hospital in Marrakech.

The earthquake, Morocco’s strongest recorded over the past 120 years, was not, however, the deadliest. The construction rules were altered, following a 5.8 magnitude earthquake in 1960 which took the lives of 12,000 people. Despite the revised regulations, many buildings, especially those in rural areas, are still not constructed to withstand such seismic activity. Given this most recent disaster, authorities are bound to face fresh calls to enhance the durability of domestic and commercial structures across the country.


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