Morocco races against time to save quake survivors trapped in rubbles

Rescue team, Photo:

Morocco faces a race against time to save those trapped under the rubble by Friday’s earthquake, as emergency services battle to supply remote areas.

Villagers continue to dig by hand and shovel to find survivors, as response teams struggle to bring in machinery.

Those same tools may now be needed to prepare graves for some of the thousands killed in the quake.

People “have nothing left,” a villager told the BBC. “People are starving. Children want water. They need help.”

Friday’s earthquake, the country’s deadliest for more than 60 years, struck below a remote cluster of mountainous villages south of Marrakesh.

The government reported that at least 2,122 people were killed and more than 2,421 injured, many critically.

The 6.8-magnitude tremor collapsed homes, blocked roads and swayed buildings as far away as the country’s northern coast.

Marrakesh’s old city, a Unesco World Heritage site, suffered damage.

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI declared three days of national mourning on Saturday, as the scale of the devastation became clearer.

The royal palace said civil protection units had been deployed to increase stocks in blood banks, water, food, tents and blankets.

But it conceded that some of the worst-affected areas were so remote that it was impossible to reach them in the hours after the quake – the most crucial period for many of the injured.

Fallen rocks partially blocked the already poorly-maintained roads into the High Atlas Mountains, where many of the worst-affected areas lie.

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