Morocco earthquake: Death toll nears 3000

The death toll from the devastating earthquake has reached at least 2,901, according to the Moroccan Interior Ministry.

The number of people injured has risen to at least 5,530, it said in an update today.

The ministry said that 2,884 of the people who were killed have been buried.

It said efforts to rescue any potential survivors were still underway, while the injured continued to receive care.

Some survivors have camped out in the open along the Tizi n’Test road, which connects remote valleys to Marrakesh.

They salvaged what they could from the wreckage, quickly packed bundles of their belongings and fled their destroyed villages.

“The authorities are focusing on the bigger communities and not the remote villages that are worst affected,” Hamid Ait Bouyali, 40, said as he waited on the roadside. “There are some villages that still have the dead buried under the rubble.”

Many villagers have had no power or telephone service since the earthquake struck and said they had to rescue loved ones and pull out bodies buried under their crushed homes without any help.

Abdel Aouragh, a driver, told Al Jazeera he fears the earthquake will change life in the mountain villages even more than it has in the past years.

In the past, he said, people would work either in farming or guiding tourists on picturesque treks through the mountains.

But recently, social media, modernity and social mobility have emptied the villages to the point where only elderly people and children are left in the winter.

Now, he argues, more people will move to Marrakesh, forsaking the villages, and new building regulations will change the traditional way of life.

His fellow driver Lhassen, added: “This will be the end of the collective. Now everything will be individual. Pumps, electricity, it will all be individual. In the morning, boys and girls go together to get water. That will now end. The social and collective aspect of the village will now end.”

Errachid Montassir, an activist and humanitarian worker, has been travelling with doctors to remote villages in the Atlas Mountains.

It took them five hours to reach the town of Ijjoukak because the road was blocked, Montassir told Al Jazeera.

“It was a disaster and also a shock to see people still under the ground there,” he said. “The army is doing [its] job to bring these people out of the ground, but also it’s very, very difficult to reach these places, so you can imagine that there is no food but also there’s no blankets or beds where people can sleep.”

The government is setting up medical camps as close as it can to the villages, he explained, but access for residents is very difficult.

“There’s some materials that you can bring with you up to the mountains, and sometimes we use mules to bring this, but it is really not enough,” Montassir said.


Blueprint Whatsapp