Half of a Moroccan village’s residents are missing or deceased after a devastating earthquake.

Residents of Moroccan villages, hit hard by a recent earthquake, have been left waiting for government aid as roads remain blocked by debris and fallen rocks. The powerful earthquake, with a magnitude of 6.8, affected both urban and remote areas of Morocco, leaving many to fend for themselves. Survivors in these rugged areas face challenges like electricity and phone outages, limited access to food and water, and the necessity to perform hasty burials due to Muslim rituals.

More than 2,100 people lost their lives, and over 2,400 were injured in the quake. King Mohammed VI pledged rapid shelter and house rebuilding for those in distress, including orphans and vulnerable individuals. However, the government’s response has been criticised for being slow and uncoordinated, with little information about rescue efforts and infrequent casualty updates.

In some remote villages, like Douar Tnirt in the Atlas Mountains, residents have received aid from charities in the absence of government assistance. Nearby in Azgour, power and phone services were disrupted, hindering communication for outside help. Residents took it upon themselves to rescue those trapped in the rubble.

Morocco has experienced challenges in dealing with major earthquakes in the past. In 2004, following a devastating earthquake, there were delays in the prime minister’s visit to affected areas due to protocol, and Moroccan law criminalises criticism of the king, limiting public outrage. This has contributed to the muted response to the government’s handling of the disaster.

Despite being just an hour or two from major cities like Marrakech, villages in the Atlas Mountains have received little to no official help, and ambulances are scarce. Many injured individuals have been transported to Marrakech hospitals by private vehicles, further highlighting the challenges and gaps in the response to the earthquake.

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