The catastrophic earthquake that struck Morocco has claimed several lives with the death count rising to over 2,800, leaving the residents devastated and compelling them to spend their fourth night under the sky on Monday (September 11).
The search and rescue operations being conducted by the Moroccan teams had a helping hand from Spain, Britain, and Qatar to find survivors from the 6.8 magnitude quake that struck in the High Atlas Mountains late on Friday (September 8), toppling several buildings.
According to the state TV on late Monday, the death count rose to 2,862 while 2,562 people were injured. The authorities have not issued any number of missing people with much of the quake zone in hard-to-reach areas. Almost every house in the village of Tinmel crumbled, compelling the entire community to be left homeless.
A 59-year-old man, Mouhamad Elhasan, expressed his pain narrating the story of the night the earthquake hit.
He said that he was having dinner with his family during that unfortunate hour and his 31-year-old son fled outside and was hit as the roof of the neighbour’s building collapsed which trapped him under the debris. Elhasan said that he searched for his son while also crying for help. By the time he reached his son, he was dead. Elhasan and his wife and daughter survived as they remained inside their home.
"If he had stayed inside the house he would have been ok," Elhasan said.
The villagers in Tinmel and other villages said that they had extracted the people from rubble with their bare hands.
The epicentre of the quake was about 72 km (45 miles) southwest of Marrakech, where some historical buildings in the old city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, were damaged. The quake also did major damage to the historically significant 12th-century Tinmel Mosque.
Modern parts of Marrakech escaped unscathed, including a place near the airport marked for the IMF and World Bank meetings, scheduled to be held next month.
Over 10,000 people are expected at the meetings, which the Moroccan government wants to proceed, sources said.
The army said that reinforcements have been called to provide drinking water and distribute food, tents and blankets.
Dalai Lama expresses grief over Morocco deaths
Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has written to Moroccan Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch condoling the loss of lives due to the earthquake.
In his letter, the Dalai Lama said he has asked the Gaden Phodrang Foundation of the Dalai Lama to make a donation towards the rescue and relief efforts in Morocco.
"I offer my condolences to Your Excellency, the families of those who have lost loved ones and pray for all those affected by this great tragedy. I am aware that your government is doing everything it can to provide support to help the rescue and relief efforts in the quake zones," he said.
"It is also heartening that the international community is sending aid following the earthquake. As a token of my solidarity with the people of Morocco affected by this tragedy, I have asked the Gaden Phodrang Foundation of the Dalai Lama to make a donation towards the rescue and relief efforts," he added.
PM Modi mentions Morocco at G20 Summit
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday (September 9) expressed condolences over the loss of lives in the massive earthquake in Morocco.
"Before we start the proceedings of G20, I want to express my condolences over the loss of lives due to an earthquake in Morocco. We pray that all injured recover at the earliest. India is ready to offer all possible assistance to Morocco in this difficult time," PM Modi said.
(With Reuters inputs)