Morocco mourns the victims: “The only thing I want is to escape the world and mourn”

This Sunday, Morocco mourns the victims of the violent earthquake that devastated and caused part of the countrythe death of more than 2,000 people, According to the authorities’ current assessment, this could worsen as the search progresses.

The earthquake on Friday of magnitude 6.8 according to the US Geological Survey and 7 according to the Moroccan center for scientific and technical research is the highest ever recorded in this country.

There were at least 2,012 dead and 2,059 injured, of which 1,404 were in very serious condition, the Interior Ministry said on Saturday evening.

The province Al HauzEpicenter of the earthquake, was punished the most 1,293 deads followed by Taroudant, with 452. The earthquake destroyed entire villages in these two areas southwest of the tourist city of Marrakech.

“I lost everything”, Lahcen laments in the town of Moulay Brahim in the High Atlas. The earthquake claimed the lives of his wife and four children. “The only thing I want is to escape the world and mourn”says this man who was saved because he was not at home at the time of the accident.

– First burials –

Located in the upper part of the town of 3,000 inhabitants Bouchra He wipes the tears from his eyes with his handkerchief as he watches his neighbors digging graves.

“My cousin’s children died,” he laments, before remembering in a cracking voice: “I saw the devastation of the earthquake first hand and I’m still shaking today. It was like a ball of fire engulfed everything in its path.”

“Everyone here has lost people in their family, whether in the city or elsewhere in the region,” he added.

The royal cabinet ordered three days of national mourning and leaders from around the world, from Spain and France to Israel and the United States, expressed their condolences to Rabat.

Even the neighbor Algeriaenmity with Morocco, closed its airspace two years ago for aircraft transporting humanitarian aid and injured people.

– “Years of reaction” –

According to the International Red Cross, the country’s needs are immense.

“This will not be a one or two week response (…)” We expect a response over many months or even years“said Hossam Elsharkawi, Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

The town of Tafeghaghte, about 60 km southwest of Marrakesh, was virtually destroyed by the earthquake, whose epicenter was just fifty kilometers away, according to an AFP team.

Buildings that were still standing were rare there. “Three of my grandchildren (ages 12, 8 and 4) and their mother died. They all lie beneath the ruins,” said Omar Benhanna, 72.

On Saturday, many of the survivors went to the cemetery to bury about 70 bodies, in ceremonies punctuated by screams and tears.

At night, Moroccan television channels broadcast aerial images showing that villages with mud houses in the Al Haouz region had completely collapsed.

“Public authorities continue to be mobilized to speed up rescue operations and the evacuation of the injured,” the Interior Ministry said on Saturday evening.

In addition to Marrakech and the surrounding regions The quake was observed in Rabat, Casablanca, Agadir and Easuirawhere many residents left their homes in panic in the middle of the night.

It is the worst earthquake in this kingdom since the destruction of Agadir on the west coast on February 29, 1960. Almost 15,000 people, a third of the city’s population, died.

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