Welcome to Africanews

Please select your experience

Watch Live



Morocco: Rescuers continue search for survivors as hope fades

A man looks at the rubble of homes in the village of Talat N'Yacoub, south of Marrakech on September 11, 2023   -  
Copyright © africanews
FADEL SENNA/AFP or licensors


Volunteers and rescue workers remain mobilized in Morocco on Tuesday to try and find any survivors, even though hopes are dwindling more than 72 hours after the earthquake that killed almost 2,900 people.

The epicenter of the quake, which killed 2,862 people and injured 2,562, according to a latest report on Monday evening, is located in a mountainous area of the High Atlas, where landslides have made access to the affected villages even more difficult.

Moroccan rescue workers, supported by foreign teams, are trying to speed up the search for survivors and provide shelter for hundreds of families who have lost their homes.

But in some isolated areas, the inhabitants claim to have been abandoned to their fate.

In the village of Imoulas, perched in the High Atlas, residents seem lost amid the rubble of their homes.

"We feel completely abandoned here, no one has come to help us. Our houses have collapsed and we have nowhere to go. Where are all these poor people going to live?" laments Khadija, a resident of this hard-to-reach village, masking her face with her veil.

"The state didn't come, we didn't see anyone. After the earthquake, they came to count the number of victims. Since then, not a single one of them is left. No civil protection, no assistance force. No one is here with us," says Mouhamed Aitlkyd amid the rubble.

Helicopters have been flying back and forth to bring food to quake survivors in some of the small, isolated villages, as AFP journalists have observed.

- Solutions on the drawing board -

The head of the Moroccan government, Aziz Akhannouch, chaired a meeting on Monday devoted to the reconstruction of homes destroyed in the disaster zones.

"Citizens who have lost their homes will receive compensation (...) a clear offer will be announced shortly", he declared.

According to him, solutions are currently being studied for the homeless.

Meanwhile, the villages closest to the epicenter of the earthquake remain inaccessible due to landslides.

The Moroccan army has set up field hospitals to treat the injured in isolated areas, such as the village of Asni, in the stricken province of Al Haouz, just over an hour from Marrakech.

More than 300 patients have already been admitted, Colonel Youssef Qamouss, a physician, told AFP.

"We assess severity, so serious patients are sent to Marrakech. We also have a radiology unit, a laboratory and a pharmacy," he told AFP.

On Sunday evening, Morocco announced that it had accepted offers from four countries to send search and rescue teams: Spain, the United Kingdom, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

According to AFP correspondents, Spanish rescue workers were present on Monday in two quake-stricken localities south of Marrakech, Talat Nyaqoub and Amizmiz.

"The big difficulty lies in remote, hard-to-reach areas like here, but the injured are being helicoptered in," Spanish team leader Annika Coll told AFP.

"It's hard to say whether the chances of finding survivors are diminishing, because for example in Turkey (hit by a very violent earthquake in February), we managed to find a woman alive after six and a half days. There is always hope," she added. "It's also important to find the lifeless bodies because the families need to know and grieve".

View more