Sun. Sep 24th, 2023
    Search and Rescue Efforts Underway After Earthquake Devastates Moroccan Villages

    Search and rescue efforts are still ongoing in Tnirte, Morocco, five days after a magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck the mountainous region. Abdel Abed, whose daughter Shaima remains buried under the rubble, tirelessly continues to dig, holding onto hope that she may still be alive. The small team of Spanish firefighters who were utilizing sniffer dogs have shifted their focus to recovery efforts, as the dogs can only detect signs of life.

    The town of Tnirte has been left in ruins, with buildings leveled and debris scattered everywhere. Young men in the village are using donkeys to transport aid from the delivery point to where the rescue efforts are taking place. The earthquake has resulted in widespread loss, with nearly everyone in the town having lost someone close to them.

    Relief efforts in the region are in the early stages, with international aid starting to arrive in nearby Amizmiz. Access to the affected areas is a major challenge, as many routes have been blocked by boulders and landslides. Russ Gordon, a team leader for the UK’s rescue mission, highlights the collaboration with Moroccan civil defense and military, relying on their local knowledge to navigate the difficult terrain.

    Medical aid clinics have been set up along the mountain roads. However, resources are limited, and severe cases require transportation to the university hospital in Marrakesh, a two-hour journey away. Traffic jams caused by heavy trucks and narrow roads have hindered relief efforts, making it difficult for trucks and ambulances to reach the areas in need.

    The Moroccan government has pledged to initiate an extensive rebuilding program, but the logistics are complex. Poverty, coupled with geological factors, has amplified the destruction caused by the earthquake. Many residents are expected to be offered new houses built to modern standards, but this comes at the cost of losing the traditional homes that have stood for centuries.

    While the road to recovery will be long and arduous, the survivors in the affected areas are grateful to have survived. The region will change as people relocate to cities, leaving behind their mountain homes. However, the resilience of the community and its determination to rebuild will remain steadfast.

    BBC News
    Al Jazeera