Survivors of Morocco’s Deadly Earthquake Describe Horrific Scenes as Death Toll Surpasses 2,800

Survivors of Morocco’s deadliest earthquake in sixty years are sharing harrowing accounts of their ordeal, as they continue to live amidst the wreckage, with decomposing bodies still trapped beneath collapsed buildings.

Four days have passed since the disaster struck, and the situation remains dire.

Desolation in Ijoukak

Aziz, a resident of Ijoukak, located 10 miles from the epicenter of the earthquake, recounted the grim reality: “Until now we have found no survivors, only the dead buried under the rubble… the smell of corpses is very, very strong.

“We still have no electricity and no water.”

The death toll has exceeded 2,800, and there are fears it will rise further, as hope dwindles for those still trapped beneath the rubble from the 6.8-magnitude quake that struck on Friday.

Villagers Left to Fend for Themselves

In the worst-hit regions of the Atlas mountains, desperate villagers find themselves left to their own devices, digging through the debris with their bare hands to recover the bodies of their neighbors and loved ones.

After enduring a fourth night in makeshift tents or under the open sky, many Moroccans are still waiting for assistance.

Challenges in Quake-Hit Areas

The quake has devastated homes, mosques, and schools, particularly in remote areas where buildings are constructed from mud bricks, stone, and clay.

These structures provide little chance of survival once they collapse.

Rescuers Without Borders’ founder, Arnaud Fraisse, explained, “When all of that collapses, you don’t have much chance of surviving because there are no air pockets.

“People are generally suffocated by the dust.”

Medics and Rescue Teams Struggle

Abdelqader Tarfay, the general secretary of Morocco’s National Health Union, highlighted the monumental challenge facing medics and rescue teams.

Their priority is to rescue trapped individuals and prevent the further decay of bodies under the debris.

The magnitude of the disaster is overwhelming.

Mixed Responses to Relief Efforts

While some communities have received state assistance, others have criticized the government’s relief efforts, citing the enormity of the destruction.

Remote hamlets in the vicinity of Ijoukak remain inaccessible due to blocked roads caused by massive boulders.

Heartbreaking Realities

For Said Hartattouch, a resident who rushed back to his family’s village upon learning of the earthquake, the devastation was personal.

His childhood home was reduced to ruins, and while his mother and sisters survived, fifteen other members of the close-knit community perished.

The historic mosque that attracted tourists for its 12th-century architecture now lies in ruins.

Struggle for Survival

Residents of affected villages like Tinmel have faced an uphill battle.

The earthquake left them with nothing but the open sky to shelter under.

Government help has been limited, and they have relied on charitable donations to meet their basic needs.

Urgent Needs

With the onset of colder weather, there is an urgent need for tents to protect survivors from the dropping temperatures at night.

As the situation remains grim, the resilience and solidarity of these communities shine through amidst the rubble and despair.


The testimonies of survivors paint a bleak picture of the aftermath of the earthquake, highlighting the challenges faced in rescue and relief efforts.

The tragic loss of lives and the destruction of homes and historic landmarks have left communities in despair.

While some aid has been provided, the sheer scale of the disaster underscores the need for a comprehensive and sustained response to support those affected in their journey to recovery.

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