Race against time: search for earthquake victims in Morocco


Hoping to find survivors three days after the severe earthquake that hit Morocco, emergency services have further intensified their rescue efforts.

As people spent a third straight night on the streets of Marrakech and elsewhere fearing more aftershocks, soldiers and foreign aid teams began moving to remote mountain villages in trucks and helicopters. Military vehicles loaded with bulldozers and logistical equipment attempted to clear roads of landslides in rough terrain so ambulances could pass, online newspaper Morocco World News reported.

Hundreds of people are still missing

For search and rescue forces it is a race against time: experts estimate that a person can go the longest without water for 72 hours. Hundreds of people are still missing in Morocco.

The magnitude 6.8 earthquake, the worst to hit Morocco in decades, struck on Friday night. Since then, the North African country, where earthquakes rarely occur, has been hit by fresh aftershocks. According to official information to date, at least 2,122 people have died and at least 2,421 others have been injured.

Although several countries, including Germany, have offered their help, Morocco initially only wants to accept the support of four countries. As the Ministry of the Interior stated late on Sunday afternoon, after a thorough investigation, the authorities had “responded to offers of support from friendly countries: Spain, Qatar, Great Britain and the United Arab Emirates.” It is not known if Germany was also asked for help. In any case, German humanitarian organizations, such as the Technical Aid Agency, have sent their employees back home for the time being.

Government Special Relief Fund

Saudi Arabia also wants to support Morocco. King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the establishment of an airlift to bring aid to Morocco, state news agency SPA reported Sunday night. The two Arab countries traditionally maintain friendly relations. According to a report by the English-language newspaper Arab News, a Saudi search and rescue team is expected to support the rescuers.

Meanwhile, the Moroccan government announced a special aid fund for the population in need. This was intended, among other things, to cover the costs of insuring damaged homes, Moroccan news site Hespress reported, citing a government spokesperson.

There was no information on the amount of the fund. It should be made up of funds from public institutions and voluntary contributions from the private sector, he said. In addition to local hospitals and ambulance services, more than 1,000 doctors and 1,500 nurses were mobilized to provide medical care to the more than 2,000 injured.

A new: This report is part of an automated service of the German Press Agency (dpa), which works according to strict journalistic standards. It will not be edited or reviewed by AZ’s online editorial team. Send your questions and comments to [email protected]

Regina Anderson

"Extreme gamer. Food geek. Internet buff. Alcohol expert. Passionate music specialist. Beeraholic. Incurable coffee fan."

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