Thousands of people were trapped Friday night when a 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck Morocco in North Africa. The survivors were trapped between massive boulders and debris.
At least 2,122 people have been killed and an additional 2,421 injured, including at least 1,400 critically.
According to reports, images, and footage shared on social media, most of the affected people are the rural communities who live in hit villages outside the historic city of Marrakesh.
The temblor caused roads in the mountainous areas to be blocked, and electricity and internet connections to shut off, making it so difficult for the victims to call for help on time.
“My 5 children are under the rubble, they died. My wife is missing too, I do not know where she is,” a villager told the media.
Blocked roads and terrain make it difficult to reach remote areas after the deadly earthquake. Some of the villages that are located high in the mountains were isolated. Heavy rocks blocking roads made it difficult for ambulances and search and rescue teams to reach the trapped people, witnesses told Al Jazeera from Rabat.
“Sometimes the roads [leading to the villages] are not paved, so you have to bring in the army in order to get to the population [there], and then you start rescue missions at the same time you are evacuating some of the injured,” he said.
“I saw roads that were blocked by huge rocks that fell from the mountain just after the earthquake.
“This poses massive logistical concerns for authorities,” said another local. person.
Rescue workers in the Moroccan village of Moulay Brahim are said to have rescued many people. A video shared on social media shows a rescue team celebrating pulling a man out alive from under a collapsed building near the epicenter of the earthquake that struck late on Friday.
The UK has said it is deploying search and rescue teams to Morocco.
“Sixty UK search and rescue specialists, four search dogs, and rescue equipment deployed to Morocco,” the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said in a statement, adding that it was deploying the rescue team on Sunday via two Royal Air Force A400M aircraft.
“Foreign Secretary has spoken to Foreign Minister (Nasser) Bourita and UK remains in close contact with the Moroccan authorities,” the FCDO added, as quoted by Aljazeera.
Spain sends 86 rescuers and eight search dogs to Morocco
According to an Aljazeera report: Spain has sent 86 rescuers and eight search dogs to Morocco following the powerful earthquake.
A military plane took off Sunday morning from a base in the northeastern Spanish city of Zaragoza with 56 rescuers and four search dogs bound for Marrakesh, said a defence ministry statement. The rescue team belongs to Spain’s Military Emergencies Unit (UME), a body of the armed forces created to intervene quickly in emergency situations such as forest fires, floods and earthquakes.
On Sunday evening, another military plane took off from a base in Torrejon de Ardoz near Madrid with 30 rescuers and four search dogs, an interior ministry spokesman said.
France is also offering aid
The French ambassador to Morocco, Christophe Lecourtier, has told BFM television that Moroccan authorities were “taking into consideration” French offers to send search-and-rescue teams and emergency medical aid.
“We have all reasons to believe that in a few hours or tomorrow, this aid will be requested,” he said on Sunday evening.
Qatar has also sent four planes to help with search and rescue in Morocco
Qatar is preparing to send aid and provide support to earthquake-stricken Morocco.
At Al Udeid air base, “Qatari [authorities] are currently preparing four planes to be flown into Morocco as part of the search and rescue operation,” Al Jazeera’s Stefanie Dekker said.
“Qatar is one of many countries who have pledged help to Morocco in the aftermath of this devastating earthquake,” she said, adding that the aid included vehicles and hardware, tents, medical equipment, search and rescue equipment, and food.
According to the media, A group of Moroccan scholars in the United States has set up a GoFundMe campaign to help villages that have been affected by the earthquake in Morocco.
The scholars said they are working with local NGOs and community leaders to ensure all funds make the biggest, most direct impact to support families.