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Morocco: earthquake victims struggle as winter sets in

Tents housing people who were displaced by the earthquake are seen in the town of Amizmiz, outside Marrakech, Morocco,. 06/10/2023   -  
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Mosa'ab Elshamy/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.


**Nearly three months after a deadly earthquake struck southern Morocco, residents of one village are trying to cope with the harsh conditions of their new life as winter approaches.

In Imzilne, a village near Marrakesh, the community has pooled their resources, donations and know-how in a bid to improve their living situation.

They have turned some of their makeshift shelters into communal living spaces which create a warm and comfortable area for people to gather. 

The earthquake which hit the mountainous region on September 8 killed nearly 3,000 people and affected over 2 million. 

Keeping warm

In Imzilne, three residents were killed and the village's 250 inhabitants are now living in tents. 

While the strong community spirit has improved conditions somewhat, many are anxious as the cold season begins. 

The isolated area sits at an altitude of 1,000 metres and minimum temperatures hover around zero degrees.

"We think about [the cold] every day, the last time it rained, it was difficult to cope with", says Malika Abbenay, passing between the tents covered in plastic sheeting, who remembers the ground quickly turning to mud.

The local plumber has installed mobile toilets and showers, as well as vital gas water heaters, which were all donated by private benefactors and public companies. 


More than 60,000 homes were damaged in the earthquake in and around the High Atlas, a region where the poverty rate is almost double the national level, according to official figures.

The authorities have released emergency aid, with an approved budget of €11 billion for reconstruction and rehousing.

In Imzilne, "some have received it, others not yet," says Taoufiq Jaïdi, who coordinates community life in the village.

According to the government, nearly 24,000 disaster victims had received financial aid by mid-November and more than 3,300 applications for reconstruction aid had been approved, while census-taking and clearing operations were continuing.

Moments of joy

The village's residents still try to find happiness where they can. 

At the end of November, they managed to celebrate a wedding which had been postponed because of the earthquake.

"Life goes on despite everything. We spent three months under intense stress, but my wedding was a moment of joy", says Latifa Amzil, a 24-year-old bride.

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