Three days after the Morocco earthquake , Foreign aid and rescue teams quickly joined the effort to locate survivors amidst the rubble of the devastated villages in Morocco’s Atlas mountains on Monday.
The earthquake, which registered a magnitude of 6.8, occurred with its epicenter beneath a remote cluster of mountainous villages located 45 miles south of Marrakech. Its impact reverberated across the country, reaching as far as the northern coast, causing widespread destruction.
According to government reports, the earthquake has claimed the lives of at least 2,122 people, leaving over 2,421 injured, with many in critical condition. In Marrakech, a sense of fear drove many to spend the nights outdoors on pavements and in squares, unwilling to return to their homes.
This earthquake is the deadliest Morocco has experienced since the devastating 1960 earthquake in Agadir, which resulted in the tragic loss of over 12,000 lives.
In response to this crisis, Spain has deployed 86 rescuers along with eight search dogs to Morocco to aid in the search and rescue operations. Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles emphasized the critical importance of these initial hours for rescue efforts.
Qatar has also taken action by dispatching an aid flight from Al-Udeid airbase outside Doha. Morocco has accepted aid offers from four foreign nations, including Spain, Britain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates, for search and rescue teams. The Moroccan interior ministry noted the importance of coordination in these efforts and has accepted only these four offers to avoid counterproductive overlaps. However, they remain open to accepting additional aid offers as the situation evolves, including France’s willingness to assist.
King Mohammed VI of Morocco has convened an emergency disaster response meeting and declared three days of national mourning. Authorities have mobilized civil protection units to strengthen blood banks and guarantee the provision of essential resources like water, food, tents, and blankets to the affected areas.
The earthquake has caused significant devastation in the Atlas mountain range, especially in Al-Haouz province, affecting numerous villages severely. The remote village of Tafeghaghte, located nearly 40 miles from Marrakech, has suffered almost total destruction, leading to the recording of over 1,300 deaths in Al-Haouz province alone.
As the region grapples with the aftermath, citizens have come together to assist in rescue and recovery efforts. Morocco has previously experienced earthquakes along its northern coastline, including a 6.3-magnitude quake in 2004 near the town of Al Hoceima that claimed the lives of over 600 people.
In response to the earthquake’s impact, the education ministry has suspended classes in the worst-hit villages of Al-Haouz, with schools remaining closed from Monday. The Red Cross has cautioned that the extensive damage caused by the earthquake will require long-term efforts for repair and recovery, extending over months, if not years, in order to fully rebuild the affected communities.