Morocco Earthquake: A Nation Rallies Amidst Tragedy

Moroccoโ€™s Atlas Mountains, a picturesque backdrop for the bustling city of Marrakech, was shaken last Friday by a devastating 6.8 magnitude earthquake.

The earthquake was Moroccoโ€™s deadliest in 60 years, killing more than 2,800. But even in the midst of the rubble and heartache, stories of resilience, unity, and hope emerge.

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Morocco Earthquake rubble
Morocco Earthquake rubble

Survivors Share Their Heartbreaking Stories

Survivors describe the Morocco earthquakeโ€™s harrowing moment when the earth shook beneath their feet. โ€œWhen we returned home, we found our house destroyed and our children buried under the rubble,โ€ one survivor said, echoing the feelings of many who have lost their homes and loved ones.

Another survivor, a mother, spoke of the horror she and her children experienced, saying, โ€œWe kept screaming until people heard us and pulled us out of the rubble.โ€ Atlas mountains. The village of Tikt, once home to at least 100 families, is now in ruins. โ€œMy life ended here,โ€ said Mohsin Aksum, 33, who lost his family in the earthquake. โ€œThe village is dead.โ€

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Moroccoโ€™s Unyielding Spirit Amidst Tragedy

Morocco Earthquake Volunteers watch as a digger moves rubble of collapsed houses in Tafeghaghte, 60 kilometres (37 miles) southwest of Marrakesh, September 10, 2023. ยฉ Fadel Senna, AFP

Volunteers watch as a digger moves rubble of collapsed houses in Tafeghaght

But even in the face of this overwhelming tragedy, Moroccoโ€™s spirit remains intact. Ordinary citizens like Maria Boudig drove hundreds of kilometers to distribute food and supplies to affected villages. Many have taken it upon themselves to make sure everyone has something to eat, especially in areas where official aid has been slow to arrive.

Bright yellow emergency tents dot the landscape, set up by Moroccan authorities to shelter survivors. In Marrakesh, citizens have flocked to hospitals to donate blood, with even members of Moroccoโ€™s national football team joining the effort. Volunteers, like Mohamed Belkaid, 65, have been instrumental in organizing food and essential goods drives. โ€œEveryone must mobilize,โ€ Belkaid emphasized, urging for a collective response to the disaster.

Morocco Earthquake International Aid and Local Initiatives

The international community also intervened. Offers of assistance have come from countries including Spain, the United Kingdom, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. The Moroccan government is working with these foreign teams to ensure relief efforts are efficient and effective.

The need for assistance is both immediate and immense. Dr. Cรฉline Gounder, a CBS News medical contributor who was in Morocco during the quake, emphasized the importance of donating to local organizations, stating, โ€œWhen you donate to local organizations, youโ€™re helping in more than one way. Youโ€™re helping to create jobs locally & strengthen local capacity, too.โ€

Moroccan Royal Armed Forces search through the rubble of houses after an earthquake in the mountain village of Tafeghaghte, southwest of the city of Marrakesh [Fadel Senna/AFP]

How You Can Help: Charities Making a Difference

For those looking to contribute to support victims of the Morocco earthquake, here are some ways to help:

  1. High Atlas Foundation: This Morocco-based U.S. nonprofit is providing essential supplies such as food, water, and shelter to families in the High Atlas Mountains who have been displaced by the earthquake. They are also committed to long-term restoration and rebuilding efforts. Donate here.
  2. Banque Alimentaire: Established in 2002, this organization collects food from various donors and distributes it to those in need across Morocco. They have previously assisted in emergency situations, including the 2004 Al Hoceima earthquake. Donate here.
  3. International Medical Corps: Working in collaboration with the World Health Organization, this global humanitarian organization is dispatching medical units and supplies to Morocco. Many medical facilities in the region have been extensively damaged by the quake. Donate here.
  4. World Central Kitchen: Founded by chef Josรฉ Andrรฉs, this organization is providing meals to affected communities. They are currently using helicopters and off-road vehicles to deliver food to those in need. Donate here.
  5. CARE Morocco: Focusing on youth and disadvantaged groups in rural areas, CARE Morocco is prioritizing women, girls, the elderly, and families with young children in their emergency response. Donate to their Earthquake Emergency Fund here.
  6. IFRC and Moroccan Red Crescent: The International Federation of the Red Cross is collaborating with the Moroccan Red Crescent to assist in rescue operations, provide first aid, and offer psychosocial support to the injured. Donate here.

A Call to Unity and Support

The challenges faced by rescue and aid teams are vast, but with the support of the global community, there is hope for recovery and rebuilding. As efforts continue, itโ€™s crucial to remember that every contribution, no matter how small, can make a significant difference in the lives of those affected.

The recent earthquake serves as a grim reminder of natureโ€™s unpredictable power. However, it also highlights the indomitable spirit of humanity. Letโ€™s come together to support a nation in its hour of need.

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