The earth shakes Marrakech
“In Marrakech it has been a disgrace, but in the south it is a catastrophe, we have never seen anything like it.”
It had already fallen and taxi driver Hassan Arradi watched, his face still tense with fear, as a dozen firefighters removed rubble from a broken tower at the entrance to the kasbah, in the old heart of the city. Along with some open shops, dozens of rubble cover the side of the road as if a river of stones had overflowed between the buildings.
The air smells of disturbed dust and humidity, like when it rains near an open construction site. Fear hovers above, too: of an aftershock, of an unexpected collapse, of remembering the terror of the previous night. Yesterday, hundreds of families had settled in the streets and squares, on carpets or under the shelter of sheets hanging from palm trees, to spend the first night after the earthquake.
Mourad Irajdalen had not shaken off the horror of the previous night. “I had been sleeping for five minutes when I felt like my bed was flying. He shook me from side to side and I heard people screaming. We all ran away. I had never felt anything like that before, but that's life,” he says.
Yesterday it was a repeated phrase in Marrakech: they had never seen anything like it.
The Jemaa el Fna square in Marrakech last night was full of tourists, vendors, acrobats, storytellers and musicians
On Friday at eleven past eleven at night the earth shook in Morocco. And it killed at least 2,012 people and injured another 2,059, according to the latest official data.
Near the epicenter, 80 kilometers south of Marrakech, in the High Atlas Mountains, there are entire villages devastated. The tremor occurred right in the center of the country and was so strong, on a scale of 7, that its radiation affected dozens of towns and was even felt in Casablanca, the Canary Islands and Andalusia.
It had its epicenter in the town of Ighil, southwest of the city of Marrakech, eight kilometers deep, and in the following hours there were aftershocks of up to 5.2 degrees.
It is the largest earthquake ever recorded in Morocco. The earthquake that shook Agadir in 1960 caused fifteen thousand deaths and twelve thousand injuries, but it had a magnitude of 5.8.
Until yesterday, victims were counted in a dozen provinces: Al Haouz, south of Marrakech and close to the epicenter, with 694 deaths, followed by Taroudant (347 deaths), Chichaoua (191 deaths), Ouarzazate (39), Marrakech (14 ), Asilah (11), Agadir (5), Casablanca (3), Al Youssufia (1) and in Tinguir (1).
The Moroccan Ministry of the Interior called on citizens to remain calm, and King Mohamed VI chaired an emergency meeting yesterday at the royal palace in Rabat to examine the situation and in which three days of national mourning were declared. The monarch ordered the mobilization of the Royal Armed Forces, local authorities, police forces and civil protection, and expressed "Morocco's most sincere gratitude" to all the countries that have expressed their solidarity with the Moroccan people in the face of this catastrophe.
In Marrakech, in addition to cracked walls in the Medina, declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco, the earthquake hit dozens of straw and adobe houses and riads, traditional Moroccan buildings, which ended up collapsing. Many other parts of the ancient wall surrounding the ancient city were damaged, but last night he was paying too much attention to the stones.
“At this time we have no evidence of any Spaniards being killed or injured,” said the acting Spanish Foreign Minister, José Manuel Albares, yesterday from New Delhi, pointing out that the Spanish colony in Morocco is made up of about 18,000 people.
The air in Marrakech smells of disturbed dust and humidity, like when it rains near an open construction site.
“On the radio they have reported a dozen deaths in the Medina, but in many parts of the country there are still people in the rubble, we must hurry to get them out of there, there will be time to repair the houses,” the student said yesterday. by law Abeba Samir, who was walking with a friend in the Jemaa el Fna square in Marrakech.
The most famous square in the country, where every day – last night too – street vendors, tourists, acrobats, storytellers, rogues, dancers and musicians gather, remained untouched by the earthquake. Hundreds of people walked among the food and fruit juice stalls in a strange, somewhat forced calm.
The International Federation of the Red Cross recalled that the next 48 hours will be critical to saving lives.
Telegram sent by the King of Spain to Mohamed VI
"Your Majesty, dear brother:
I am devastated to receive the news of the violent earthquake that has affected the town of Ighil and the southwest of your country and that has caused a very high number of fatalities and injuries and I wish to inform you, in my name, in that of the Government and in That of the Spanish people, our deepest feeling of pain for the terrible consequences of this disaster, as well as our deepest condolences.
The Queen joins me in expressing our sincerest solidarity with the beloved Moroccan people and our support, appreciation and closeness to the families of the victims in these times of grief and uncertainty, along with our best wishes for a speedy and complete recovery. all the injured.
With great affection and my brotherly hug, Felipe R.”
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