Dozens of ambulances are driving around with sirens blaring on the road that connects Amizmiz, in the foothills of the Atlas mountain range, with Marrakech. Along its 45 kilometers, between Marrakech and this town, incessant caravans of private vehicles transport humanitarian aid for the victims of the earthquake that hit southern Morocco around midnight on Friday. Its violent shock has so far caused more than 2,100 deaths and some 2,400 injuries and has left tens of thousands of inhabitants of the rosary of towns that spill over the foothills of the mountain range homeless. The convoys of the Armed Forces transporting heavy machinery make their way through the winding roads of the valleys, and the Gendarmerie clears the routes closed by the landslides, but on the second day after the largest earthquake recorded in the Maghreb country it is the effort of It is civil society that seems to be paying more attention to the victims.
Omar Aid Ben Naim, 60 years old and an employee of an air conditioning company, in fact runs the improvised camp with tarps and awnings where 65 families have slept outdoors for the second consecutive night in a park in the Ashun neighborhood. He proudly shows the cards where he identifies each of his members to organize the distribution of food. All eyes were directed towards him this Sunday.
“They have given us milk, bread, canned sardines and cheese, but we still don’t have blankets,” laments Buyata Achafar, 45, worried about the six members of her family. “We don’t know how we are going to spend the night, the temperatures drop earlier in the mountains, but thank God, we are still alive,” she explains with resignation as she prepares to bake bread with a group of women in a portable gas oven that she has donated. a man come from Agadir. In Amizmiz, a town of 60,000 inhabitants along with all its villages, a hundred deaths have been recorded so far, while Marrakesh firefighters search the rubble for possible survivors. The bruised body of a woman was rushed by ambulance to the Marrakech hospital. That of a man trapped under the rubble of what was her house, he was taken directly to the cemetery covered by a blanket.
No international lifeguards
Camps like that of Ashun dot the roads of the province of Al Hauz, the most affected by the earthquake, with more than 1,300 deaths, as it is located on the same epicenter. Unlike other catastrophes of this magnitude, the presence of specialized international rescuers is not observed. Rescue work is being carried out in the first hours after the earthquake, which is key in the search for life expectancy of the missing, with exclusively Moroccan means. The Government of Rabat has only given the green light so far to rescuers from the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, the United Kingdom and Spain, which has sent two teams from the Military Emergency Unit (UME), which will foreseeably be accompanied by others organized by the autonomous communities. Countries such as the United States, France, India and Israel have announced their willingness to send aid as soon as it is requested. This Sunday, King Mohamed VI of Morocco thanked him for his help to Spain and those other countries, according to a statement from state TV cited by Reuters.
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In Amizmiz almost everything is missing. “We have water, fortunately, and electricity and telephone,” acknowledges Omar Aid Ben Naim. “But for now we only have four Red Crescent tents,” laments the actual head of the camp. “And we don’t know how to care for the wounded either,” he adds. Hasan Shamemy, 43, was working at a cafe in the city when the building collapsed on top of him. “He was trapped for almost seven hours among the ruins of the café without showing any signs of life,” recalls Saida, his 35-year-old wife, along with a two-year-old girl in her arms and a five-year-old boy who does not leave her side for a moment. his side.
“We feared the worst, but four hours later the Marrakech firefighters arrived with their dogs and began digging with their hands until they were able to locate him. He was still breathing, but his entire chest was crushed,” he says. At the Marrakesh hospital they discharged him early to make room for more serious cases. This Sunday he was dozing on a pallet under the effects of painkillers. His family fled to safety by immediately going outside as soon as the violent shaking of the earthquake began to be felt. “We have lost everything, but we are still together,” Saida said goodbye with an air of resignation.
The search for survivors continues without ceasing with the limited means that Moroccans have. Life has meanwhile been suspended in camps like Ashun’s. There are those who worry about their flock of sheep lost in the mountains. Others due to an injured leg that has not completely healed. Rayan, 12, declares himself happy to not have to go to class this Monday. “I want to be like Iniesta,” he says, dressed in the shirt of the Spanish soccer team. Together with his three brothers, he enjoys an unexpected vacation as soon as the course begins. “Until the structure of the school building is verified, classes will remain suspended,” says Omar, the man who takes care of everything in a camp where the solidarity of those in need emerges and almost everything is shared, even the patient wait for the State send tents.
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