Disasters & Accidents

Time running out to find quake survivors in Morocco

Marrakech, Morocco, Sep 12 (EFE).- The window to find and save survivors of a massive earthquake in Morocco is rapidly closing, health officials warned Tuesday, amid fears that impending rain could hamper rescue efforts.

Over 2,900 people have died and 5,530 were injured following the magnitude-7 earthquake that struck Morocco late Friday night, the interior ministry said Tuesday.

At a press conference in Geneva, the IFRC’s head of global operations, Caroline Holt, warned that the full scale of the damage and casualties was still unknown, as some of the more remote areas affected by the tremor have not yet been reached.

“Logistics are very tough, particularly since the earthquake has hit remote mountain areas,” Holt said. “Challenges include roads blocked by debris, difficulty in accessing fuel for vehicles, and broken water supplies, which brings with it the very real risk of disease and infection.”

Holt also provided a summary of the IFRC’s efforts following the disaster, explaining that rescue teams were “on the ground immediately”.

“They have been supporting local and national authorities in the search and rescue operation, the window of which, of course, must be coming to a close soon,” she said.

Meanwhile, the president of United Firefighters Without Borders (BUSF), Antonio Nogales, who has traveled to the affected areas, warned that the rains expected in Morocco from Wednesday will turn the clay terrain into mud and severely hamper relief work.

“It’s not good news”, everything will be “a thousand times worse,” said Nogales, who also warned of the heightened risk of landslides.

“What are we going to do if it rains? We are living in the street,” Latifa, 40, a resident of the village of Tnirt, told Efe.

According to Nogales, the rains will make it even harder to access some of the more remote towns and villages.

“After the earthquake, many parts of the mountain are in a situation of compromised equilibrium that the rains could worsen,” he said. EFE


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