In the quiet village of Ighil Ntalghoumt, nestled in the High Atlas mountain range south of Marrakech, Morocco, a celebration of love turned into a dance with destiny. On the eve of their wedding, Habiba Ajdir and Mohammed Boudad unknowingly hosted a party that would save their village from the deadliest earthquake Morocco has seen since 1960.
The night was filled with joy and laughter as villagers gathered in an outdoor courtyard to celebrate the upcoming nuptials. Traditional music echoed through the air, drawing residents away from their stone and mud-brick houses. As fate would have it, this decision to gather outdoors would prove to be a lifesaver.
A 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck unexpectedly, turning buildings into rubble within seconds. The quake claimed more than 2,900 lives across Morocco, mostly in remote settlements in the High Atlas mountain range. However, in Ighil Ntalghoumt, where the wedding party was in full swing, there were no deaths or serious injuries.
A video filmed by a guest captured the terrifying moment when the earth began to shake. Yet amidst the chaos and destruction, the village stood strong. The pre-wedding party had inadvertently saved many lives by drawing villagers away from their homes at the crucial moment.