There is no hope of finding survivors. This is evident by a couple from the Moroccan Gendarmerie resting on the tables of a cafe at the entrance to the town of Asni in Al Haouz, the province that was the epicenter of the September 8 earthquake. At the end of this edition, the balance of sacrifices offered by the Moroccan government remains as it was last Wednesday: The number was estimated at 2,946 dead and 5,674 injured. The authorities and the press, anxious to project an image of unity between the people and the monarch and to praise the wave of collective solidarity, postpone the information when a week has already passed since the earthquake.
The city of Alto Atlas, with 21,000 inhabitants, has become the main center of solidarity for an entire country; in a small Morocco of green and yellow tents and military vehicles spread across a large open field at the foot of the country’s highest mountains. And in the center of the town is the field hospital built by the Moroccan armed forces.
Together with two neighbors, Fátima leaves her tent and resolutely addresses the informants, expressing herself fluently in French, exceptionally in rural areas like this. “We are two or three families from the Sahara. we have lost everything, our house, our food. We prepared with the children to go back to school. We lost the notebooks, the pens, I lost my ID. All. Now we are in misery,” says the young woman, who cannot hold back her tears.
In the same camp set up by the Moroccan Armed Forces, Security and Civil Protection, Amina finds shelter and offers to show us the remains of her house, just over two hundred meters from the tents. With slowness and ruthlessness, the old woman shows us the remaining rooms of this one-story building one by one: “Look at the kitchen, the bedroom, my husband and I were there when the earthquake started.“. Unlike many of Asni’s neighbors, they were lucky to save their lives, but the house can collapse at any moment.
There, Omar, neighbor of Amina and her husband’s tent offer us mint tea when we open the tent so that we can see the dimensions of the human tragedy beneath the tarpaulins. Two families, ten members, greet and thank. These people, who have lost everything, are not afraid to appear in front of the cameras, if necessary with their ID, and denounce their precarious situation. Although for government officials the complaint is more of a regret than a reproach.
“God did it, he must have had his reasons.”says Omar bluntly. However, this retired professor with a thin face, a lush beard and a djellaba does not forget the responsibility of the living and mortal in the tragedy: “The problem that we neighbors have here is that we don’t have the strength and, above all, we don’t even know who to complain to.”
At least in the solidarity city built in Asni, someone thought about the children. A group of minors, some of them orphans or injuredThey jump onto an elastic tarpaulin installed by the Moroccan military. Although they laugh, their childhood ended abruptly on the night of September 8th.
Among those who helped Asni are members of the Spanish NGO Hambre Cero. Your President, Alvaro Cuadradoconfirms this to LA RAZÓN “The biggest challenge now is maintaining aid over a long period of time“This is the goal of our organization, not to carry out a specific action, but to accompany the Moroccan people for as long as they need it.”
“In addition, another challenge is to change the settlements as they are so that the rain does not make the problem worse,” adds the head of Zero Hunger, an organization that works in collaboration with the Advanced Command and a local team doing this help these days. In a first phase with the most vulnerable population affected by the earthquake 81 tons Humanitarian aid from Spain to the valleys around Asni.
From Asni to Imli, the route winds between gorges up the valley to the foothills of Tubkal, the roof of Morocco and Africa’s second largest. It is one of the most popular places for hikers and mountaineers traveling to Morocco The tourist nature does not prevent the route from being littered with potholes and huge stones. Size that must be avoided if possible. The small mountain hotels and guesthouses must remain closed until December, the manager of a mountain hotel tells us: another drama for the modest but promising nature tourism sector.
Meanwhile, we are receiving news of flooding in the Middle Atlas and Midelt Province. The deadly flood of 1995, which claimed the lives of 150 people, remains in memory and is inevitably remembered given the precarious situation in which thousands of families in the region are forced to find themselves take refuge in tents at two thousand meters above sea level.
The afternoon comes and a cold wind takes over the atmosphere. The priority now is blankets and tents, helpers say and neighbors in both valleys. And don’t forget the tragedy of Alto Altas, which is just around the corner like the first snow of autumn.