Rescuers scramble following deadly quake in Morocco

 September 11, 2023

Americans were horrified this weekend to learn that a massive earthquake left over twenty-eight hundred dead in Morocco.

According to Fox News, a magnitude 6.8 earthquake hit the North African nation last week, leaving as many as 300,000 people affected. That was followed by a magnitude 3.9 aftershock on Sunday.

Desperate search for survivors

The High Atlas Mountains is home to Mohammed Aberda, and Fox News noted that he spent the weekend searching for his 9-year-old daughter after discovering the body of his wife.

Foreign rescue organizations are in the country, and they include Spain's Bomberos Unidos Sin Fronteras (United Firefighters Without Borders).

Antonio Nogales is a member of the group, and he said, "The level of destruction is…absolute. Not a single house has stayed upright."

However, he expressed optimism that some victims may be able to survive for some time in air pockets beneath the rubble, remarking, "As I say, we never give up hope."

Rescue team stuck in Paris

Arnaud Fraisse is a founding member of Rescuers Without Borders, and he expressed frustration over the fact that his group's rescue team was stuck waiting in Paris.

"We know there is a great urgency to save people and dig under the remains of buildings. There are people dying under the rubble, and we cannot do anything to save them," Fraisse was quoted by the Associated Press as saying.

Musa Bouissirfane is a resident of a village called Tafeghaghte, and he told the news service, "It’s incredibly challenging to lose your entire family and all your possessions. We have lost everything — our homes, our livestock and all our possessions"

Government limiting outside assistance

In a controversial move, the Moroccan government has thus far only accepted help from non-governmental organizations and teams sent by Spain, Qatar, Britain and the United Arab Emirates.

The Associated Press observed that Moroccan officials have adopted that position so as to avoid a lack of coordination that "would be counterproductive."

This stands in sharp contrast to the approach taken by Turkey earlier this year, which quickly sought international aid following a major earthquake there in February.

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