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Tragedy in Morocco: Over 2,900 Dead After Earthquake

Updated: Nov 16, 2023

Al Haouz and Taroudant are the provinces most affected by the earthquake that hit Morocco last Friday, leaving more than 5,500 injured and nearly 3,000 dead, marking the largest earthquake in 120 years.

On the night of Friday, September 8, Morocco was surprised by a devastating earthquake of 6.8 magnitude, affecting primarily mountain villages and towns. The epicentre was located in the High Atlas mountain range, about 74 kilometres southwest of the historic centre of Marrakech.

The earthquake occurred at a shallow depth, which made it more destructive. According to experts, the shaking is more intense when an earthquake is shallow. On the other hand, when an earthquake is deep, the seismic waves are attenuated before reaching the surface.

For more than a century, an earthquake of this intensity did not affect the country, so no one was prepared for what awaited them. The province of Al Haouz took the worst part, recording at least 1,500 dead, in addition to hundreds of wounded and missing. This region is located in the south of Morocco, at the foot of the Atlas Mountains, and that has made it difficult for rescue teams to arrive.

According to witnesses of what happened, entire cities came down after the first earthquake, making it impossible for its inhabitants to return to their homes or towns. The reason why many people are sleeping outside their homes in the ancient city of Marrakech is because of the fear of their homes falling; not only do they fear the aftershocks of the earthquake, but also the fact that the walls of their homes will not be able to hold and will fall under their weight.

Five days after the disaster, rescue operations continue, now focused on recovering lifeless bodies, locating missing people, and opening the way to towns and villages that have been isolated.

The ruins are still at street level, and thousands of people have been forced to sleep in makeshift camps in open areas as an alternative to their houses that have been left uninhabitable, enduring the cold of the night in the hope of finding a roof under which to take refuge sooner or later.

Now more than ever, it is crucial to organize ourselves as a society at an international level to help those who need us most.

How can we help Morocco?

As reported by the portal Newtral, the Government of Morocco has opened a special fund for voluntary solidarity contributions directed to the management of the earthquake through the web portal of the General Treasury or bank transfers.

In addition, other entities and non-profit organizations have also opened different avenues to raise funds for those affected by the earthquake, among them the Emergency Committee, the Red Cross, Unicef, and Caritas. Likewise, several Moroccan associations in different parts of the country have organized food collections and necessities for those affected.

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