February 26, 2024

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Moroccans spent their second night on the streets after a powerful earthquake killed more than 2,000 people

Moroccans spent their second night on the streets after a powerful earthquake killed more than 2,000 people


Moulay Brahim
CNN

Rescuers in Morocco are making unremitting efforts to find survivors of Friday’s drowning Strong earthquakeMore than 2,000 people were killed and remote villages near the epicenter were destroyed.

In the heavily damaged village of Moulay Brahim in the city center, south of Marrakech in the Atlas Mountains, CNN found a family living in a makeshift camp on a soccer field, told by the authorities that it could be a week before they could return home. Firefighters are leading rescue efforts, but entering some buildings is extremely dangerous.

The building where Mina Buckenzies lived was almost completely destroyed. She said, “People came and took me out.” “Nothing fell on me, I was very lucky.”

There have been offers of help from all over the world, but it is not clear how much aid is reaching those in need. On Saturday, the United Nations said it had offered support, but that Morocco was taking the response into its own hands.

6.8 magnitude earthquake Hit late Friday. It was also the strongest earthquake to hit the area around Marrakesh’s old city in a century, according to the US Geological Survey.

State broadcaster 2M said the death toll rose to 2,122 on Sunday afternoon, with another 2,421 injured.

The death toll is expected to rise further as rescuers dig through the rubble of collapsed homes in remote areas of the Atlas Mountains.

In Marrakesh, the largest city near the epicenter and a major tourist attraction, many families spent Saturday night outdoors, as authorities warned residents to be extra vigilant of aftershocks.

Hatami, 53, was sleeping in a park in central Marrakech with her entire family, including her young children. She said it got cold at night, so they stayed together. “Everyone was outside. All the neighbors, everyone. We don’t want to go in, everyone is afraid, and the shaking was very strong,” she told CNN.

People moved away from damaged buildings in the crowded medieval city center as well as the surrounding red earthen walls, parts of which had collapsed.

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In Oliveira Park in central Marrakech, hundreds of people, including children and the elderly, sleep on makeshift blankets and mattresses. Families huddled together trying to find some respite from the shock and panic of the night before.

Alejandro Martinez Velez/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Women weep in the village of Moulay Brahim on Sunday, September 10th.

Hannah McKay – Reuters

People attend the funeral of the two victims in Moulay Brahim on September 10th.

Nacho Dos/Reuters

Emergency workers search a destroyed building in Amizmiz on September 10.

Hannah McKay – Reuters

Women watch the funeral of two victims of the deadly earthquake in Moulay Brahim, on September 10th.

Piero Crociati/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

People inspect collapsed buildings in Marrakesh on September 10.

Hannah McKay – Reuters

A woman looks on as people inspect damaged buildings in Moulay Brahim, Morocco, on September 10.

Karl Kurt/Getty Images

People take shelter in a park after being left homeless due to the earthquake that occurred on September 9, in Marrakesh, Morocco.

Hannah McKay – Reuters

People gather next to a damaged building on a street in Marrakech, Morocco, September 9.

Nacho Dos/Reuters

Mohamed, 66, stands near his damaged house in the village of Moulay Brahim, in Al Haouz province, Morocco, September 9.

Fazl Sina/AFP/Getty Images

The Royal Moroccan Armed Forces evacuate a body from a house destroyed by the earthquake that struck the mountain village of Tafghaght on September 9.

Fazl Sina/AFP/Getty Images

A mosque minaret stands behind homes damaged or destroyed following the earthquake that struck Moulay Brahim, Morocco, on September 9.

Fazl Sina/AFP/Getty Images

People mourn the victims of the Moulay Brahim earthquake in Morocco on September 9th.

Fazl Sina/AFP/Getty Images

A resident navigates through the rubble in Marrakech, Morocco, on September 9th.

Abdelhak Balhaki/Reuters

Rescue workers search through the rubble in Amizmiz, Morocco, on September 9th.

Fazl Sina/AFP/Getty Images

A woman stands in front of her earthquake-damaged house in Marrakesh, Morocco, on September 9.

Musaab Al-Shami / A.B

People inspect damaged homes in Moulay Brahim, Morocco, on September 9th.

Fazl Sina/AFP/Getty Images

Rescue workers search for survivors in a collapsed house in Al Haouz region, Morocco, on September 9th.

Fazl Sina/AFP/Getty Images

A woman looks at the ruins of a building in Marrakech, Morocco, on September 9th.

Abdelhak Balhaki/Reuters

A destroyed car sits on a street in Marrakech, Morocco, on September 9th.

Fazl Sina/AFP/Getty Images

Residents take shelter outside after the earthquake that struck Marrakech, Morocco, on September 9.

Some brought bags of clothes and food, preparing to stay away from their homes for a longer period.

The Moroccan King, King Mohammed VI, issued instructions to establish a relief services committee to provide care, housing, and food for those affected. He also ordered mosques across the country to hold funeral prayers, known as the “Janaza” prayer, at noon on Sunday for the dead.

Flags throughout the city are flown at half mast on the occasion of the three-day national mourning declared by the monarchy.

At Marrakesh Airport, dozens of tourists slept on the floor in the main hall, waiting for the departure flight. Flights to and from the tourist center remained operating mostly as normal.

Scenes of devastation and despair also appeared in the villages scattered on the slopes of the Atlas Mountains, where the epicenter of the earthquake was.

These remote areas witnessed the largest number of deaths, as mud-brick houses collapsed on residents and rocks blocked the way for rescue teams to arrive.

Aerial footage showed villages sitting on slopes flattened and reduced to piles of rubble in the aftermath of the quake.

Fatima, 50, told CNN her home in the mountain village of Asni was destroyed.

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“I barely had a chance to grab the children and run away before I saw my house collapse before my eyes,” she added. “The neighbor’s house also collapsed and there are two dead under the rubble.”

Mohamed, 50, from the nearby town of Ouirgane, lost four members of his family in the earthquake.

“I was able to get out safely with my two children but lost the rest. My house was gone,” he said.

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Rescue operations there are continuing.

“We are in the streets with the authorities trying to extract the dead from under the rubble. Several people were taken to the hospital in front of me. We hope for miracles to come from under the rubble,” Mohammed said.

In the small town of Moulay Brahim, footage published by Reuters showed villagers digging through the rubble to retrieve bodies.

Rescuers are racing against time. The first 72 hours after an earthquake is the most critical period for finding survivors, as the condition of trapped and injured people can deteriorate quickly beyond that period.

“They call it the ‘golden period’ because if you want to pull people out of the rubble, this is the time to do it,” said Joe English, spokesman for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

He added, “These towns and villages are remote and difficult to reach… and international support and solidarity is crucial.”

The World Health Organization said that more than 300,000 people were affected by the strong tremors that struck Marrakesh and its surrounding areas.

The country has not witnessed a similar disaster since 2004, when a 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck the coastal city of Al Hoceima, killing about 630 people.

The worst earthquake in Morocco in the modern era occurred in 1960 near the western city of Agadir, killing at least 12,000 people.