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Earthquake-hit Morocco accepts aid from only four countries

Earthquake-hit Morocco accepts aid from only four countries

Posted September. 12, 2023 08:33,   

Updated September. 12, 2023 08:33


As of Monday, a grim race against time is unfolding in the southwestern region of Morocco, North Africa. The devastating earthquake with a magnitude of 6.8 that struck on Friday (local time) has already claimed a minimum of 2,200 lives. The critical 72-hour golden window to find survivors is fast approaching its end, but help for the rescue efforts seems almost non-existent.

On Sunday, in a village in the Atlas Mountains, a disaster-stricken area, five men were spotted digging through the earth and bricks — the remnants of what were once homes — desperately searching for their buried family members. Three family members have already been recovered, yet many more remain missing. They took the picks to find them. The New York Times reported that these men took turns using the scant two picks available to dig through the colossal piles of earth with their bare hands.

The earthquake's impact is primarily concentrated in the rugged mountainous regions, making access extremely challenging for rescue teams. Roads have been severed due to earthquake debris and rockfalls, making the distribution of relief materials possible only via helicopters — a testament to the deplorable conditions of the region. Despite the unprecedented catastrophe and a dire need for external assistance, the Moroccan government is reluctant to accept help from international rescue teams, citing potential confusion that might ensue in the rescue operations.

Immediately following the earthquake, numerous countries, including France, the United States, Algeria, Israel, and Taiwan, extended their helping hands, offering assistance in the rescue efforts. However, the Moroccan authorities have declined help from these nations. Morocco has accepted aid proposals solely from four nations with which it maintains friendly relations — Spain, Qatar, the United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates.