Abdelhadi Hidaoui, 45, a Spanish teacher at a private institute in Marrakesh, left his home in fear shortly after 11 a.m. last Friday as the earth crunched beneath his feet amid the worst earthquake recorded in northern Africa since the 1990 century. “Luckily I live in a modern part of the city, but the fear was huge. “There were a lot of people on the street, everyone was running and scared,” he told LA RAZÓN by phone.
Twenty-four hours later, Abdelhadi took a stroll through the streets of the city’s historic center. There he saw sadly collapsed stone blocks, fear on the faces of his neighbors for fear of new aftershocks, but also a lot of solidarity. “Moroccans have shown great generosity in the midst of tragedy. On the streets you can see people collecting food and groups organizing spontaneously to bring supplies to the affected cities in private cars. I could also see long lines of people for hours waiting to donate blood at health centers. It didn’t really surprise me, solidarity is part of our culture and our religion.
The counterpoint, according to Abdelhadi, lies in the authorities’ response, which he describes as ineffective and slow: “The government’s intervention is very disastrous. In some areas they have not yet intervened and in others they have arrived only after civil organizations have done so. Thanks to the residents’ own efforts, the first bodies were recovered. The majority of Moroccans do not believe that this government serves the people, but rather its own interests. “It is very unfortunate to see that during the election campaign they reached every point of the country with their machines, but now due to an earthquake they are unable to reach the destroyed places.”
“There is a big difference between the people who live in Marrakech and live well and the people who live in Marrakesh but don’t live well. Then there are those from outside Marrakech. That’s the problem.”, complains Amin. This hotel manager, who prefers not to give his name and speaks under a pseudonym to avoid reprisals, tells LA RAZÓN via videoconference that the earthquake hit him in another accommodation in Agadir, another affected area. «I was in a hotel right on the beach with my wife and dog. I took the dog and woke up my wife. Because of the fear, we didn’t really know what to do, but we went out. As soon as you are outside, you understand that it is an earthquake. There are no lights because they have all disappeared and you are standing in front of the sea. And you say, “Is it a good idea to be right by the ocean?” They ended up spending the night on the road.
The next morning they left Agadir for Marrakech, straight to their five-star hotel. “I got footage from security cameras that showed people running out of the hotel. “Everyone, including the receptionists,” he says. Amin employs 240 people. Calculate that “30% to 40% had a deceased relative”. They all returned home. “Now they are with their children, their wives and their parents, who also live with them and are lying on the street in fear,” he explains. “I tell customers that we are almost out of staff, that there has been an earthquake, and they have to understand that.”
The statement is heartbreaking. Entire cities are buried under rubble.. “All the pictures you see are of cities outside Marrakech, 30, 40 or 50 kilometers away. The construction method is different there, they are mud houses, some are not even finished yet,” he emphasizes. “I showed you my building, a five-star hotel with 226 rooms, and there are cracks. Small buildings will have collapsed. Since there is not much light in cities, people go to sleep early. “Most of the dead were sleeping and the house collapsed on them.”
The Royal Cabinet has deployed the armed forces to help the victims. “They eliminated the army. Because? because it is very difficult to reach the cities and even more so due to the effects of the earthquake,” Amin confirms to this newspaper. “Most of the officials come from Rabat. “You don’t know the area.”