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Sunday, December 10, 2023

Moroccan rescuers dig for survivors with bare hands

In remote mountain villages south of Marrakesh rescuers are battling to find survivors after Friday night’s deadly earthquake.

They’ve been using their bare hands as the authorities struggle to send equipment up rubble-strewn roads, and some villages lie in ruins.

The official death toll stands at more than 2,100, but there have been repeat warnings that this is likely to increase as the scale of the devastation gets clearer.

Emergency workers from outside Morocco have now joined the rescue effort – much-needed help, as each hour that passes reduces the chances of finding survivors.

Rabat has accepted aid offers from Spain, the UK, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. France, the US and some other countries say they are also ready to help.

Spain has sent 86 specialist rescuers in two teams, with four sniffer dogs each.

The UK government is sending 60 rescuers with four dogs, on two military transport planes, along with a small medical team. The British kit includes seismic listening devices and concrete cutting and breaking tools for reaching people trapped in rubble.

Several planes have also taken off from Qatar carrying rescue teams and emergency aid.

The Moroccan authorities say they are carefully assessing aid offers because “a lack of co-ordination could be counterproductive”.

In Marrakech, hospital worker Manel has told the BBC said she has lost 10 relatives in the quake, in villages outside the city where access is difficult.

“We cannot do anything from now because we wanted to go and help but we cannot go because the road is closed.

“They should open the roads… so we can go.

“For now, we don’t have any other information because the internet and everything isn’t working there.”

“The situation is very hard but we are trying to find any solution, anything, that we can be doing as Moroccans to help our brothers and other people who are injured or dead or the families of the dead people in that earthquake.”


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