Morocco has welcomed the assistance of four foreign nations in the aftermath of the deadly earthquake that hit near Marrakech on Friday. The quake, which measured 6.3 on the Richter scale, has killed more than 2,100 people and injured more than 2,400, many seriously.
Spain, Britain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have sent search and rescue teams to help locate survivors under the rubble of collapsed buildings. Spain has deployed 86 rescuers and eight search dogs, while Qatar has flown in an aid flight with medical supplies and personnel. France has also offered to provide aid if Morocco requests it.
The rescue efforts are facing challenges due to the remote and mountainous location of the affected villages, where many houses were built from mud bricks and crumbled in the quake. The Moroccan authorities have mobilized thousands of soldiers, police officers, firefighters and volunteers to assist the victims and distribute tents, blankets, food and water.
The Moroccan King Mohammed VI has visited some of the worst-hit areas and expressed his condolences to the families of the deceased. He has also ordered an investigation into the causes of the quake and the adequacy of the emergency response. The king has pledged to rebuild the damaged houses and infrastructure as soon as possible.
The earthquake was the deadliest in Morocco since 1960 when a 5.7-magnitude quake killed more than 12,000 people in the city of Agadir. Morocco lies on a major fault line that separates the African and Eurasian tectonic plates, making it prone to seismic activity. The country has experienced several moderate to strong quakes in recent years, but none as devastating as Friday’s.