Over 2,100 people are confirmed to have died and many more thousands are injured after a violent earthquake hit Morocco’s Atlas Mountain region last Friday. Aid and condolences continue to pour in, including touching words from Prince Albert II.
A powerful 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck Morocco’s Atlas mountains, just 70 kilometres south of Marrakech, on Friday 8th September. The quake has left a devastating body count in its wake, which currently sits at over 2,100, although that is expected to rise.
In addition to those killed, thousands have been injured. Mercifully, some people are still being pulled from the rubble alive, but countless have been left homeless and frightened with no choice but to sleep in open spaces for the fear of aftershocks that could crumble structures already in a precarious state.
It has been reported entire villages in the Atlas range, where houses are traditionally built using nothing more than mud bricks, have been levelled, and that Marrakech’s ancient medina and other historic sites have suffered serious damage.
Morocco’s King Mohammed VI has reacted to the deadliest earthquake in his country since the 1960 Agadir quake, which killed 12,000, with three days of mourning and public words of thanks to the countries who have rushed in to offer assistance.
“The Moroccan authorities conducted a careful assessment of the needs in the field, taking into account that a lack of coordination in such cases would be counterproductive. On this basis, the Moroccan authorities responded, at this particular stage, to the offers of support made by the friendly countries of Spain, Qatar, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates, which suggested mobilising a group of search and rescue teams,” said the King via state-run broadcasters Al Aoula on Sunday 10th September.
Additional sources of assistance may be added to rescue efforts as time goes on, with French President Emmanuel Macron saying he will send aid “the second” Morocco asks for it.
Inside the country, civil protection units have been deployed to ensure basics such as food, water, blankets and tents are dispatched to affected areas. These groups have also been tasked with the job of increasing blood bank supplies to help the injured.
PRINCE ALBERT II OF MONACO’S REACTION
Prince Albert II wrote to his Moroccan contemporary the day following the disaster:
“It is with deep emotion and deep sadness that I learned of the tragedy affecting the friendly Moroccan people following the powerful earthquake which struck your country last night and which claimed many victims. In these painful times, allow me to send you, on behalf of the Principality of Monaco and my family, my sincere condolences to the families and loved ones the victims.
Our thoughts and prayers also go out to the emergency services and to those assisting the injured.
Rest assured, Your Majesty, of our deep solidarity during this difficult ordeal.”
The International Red Cross has said it could be years before the damage caused by the quake is repaired, leaving an already vulnerable populace in the balance and a country only just coming out of the economic woes of the pandemic in a critical state.
Locally, the Monegasque Red Cross, headed up by Prince Albert, has launched an appeal for contributions via its website: www.croix-rouge.mc.
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Photo by Stephanie Horsman, Monaco Life