There are still questions about how the government will respond to the complicated rescue effort.
As relief efforts went on for the fourth day, there was less and less hope of finding earthquake survivors stuck under their homes in some of the most rural parts of Morocco’s Atlas Mountains.
Search and rescue teams were still trying to get to the smallest hamlets and towns in the hilly area of Al Haouz, which is close to where Friday night’s 6.8-magnitude earthquake hit.
Morocco’s military has set up field hospitals in the area of the earthquake and flown planes over the peaks to try to get help to the people who need it and move the injured.
Moulay Hafid Alaoui, the head of the Moroccan Red Cross for Marrakech-Safi, said, “It’s clear that as time goes on, the chances of finding survivors under the rubble are going down.” He said that damaged mountain roads made it hard to get to places.
As difficult relief efforts went on and the number of dead got closer to 3,000 and more than 5,000 people were hurt, there were still questions about how the state would respond. Morocco’s King Mohammed VI came back from France on Saturday. That afternoon, he led a meeting with the cabinet about how to handle disasters, but he hasn’t talked to the public directly yet.
The king landed in Marrakech, which is the largest city closest to the earthquake zone, on Tuesday evening. According to state media, he then went to see earthquake patients in the hospital. But there hasn’t been much talk about a royal visit to Al Haouz, which is poor and worst hit by the disaster.
Hassan Aourid, one of Morocco’s most well-known public thinkers and a former royal spokesman, spoke to the Guardian from the town of Amizmiz at the foot of the Atlas while helping with rescue operations.
“At first, the people felt like they were left to take care of themselves, since this is a mountainous area with many places that are very hard to get to,” he said. “People felt like they were alone, but this wasn’t true because the military was sent there and brought first responders with them. They also set up hospitals.
“Without a doubt, there is now a feeling of reassurance. People are much more at ease after the king’s emergency meeting,” he said, referring to the meeting that took place a few days earlier to talk about how to respond to a disaster.
On Sunday, the interior minister, the army, the health minister, and local officials met in the administration center of the Al Haouz area. The meeting was shown on Moroccan state television. Cabinet officials, including Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch, who is from a region in the south that was also hit by the earthquake, have not yet gone to Al Haouz to meet with people.
Sources : theguardian_morocco-earthquake-hope-fades-of-finding-survivors-in-rubble