Three days of mourning in Morocco

The Government of Morocco said that 2,000 people have died and around 1500 were injured after a powerful earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.6 on a seismograph. It was in the wee hours of Friday night as per the Indian Standard Time when the quake hit Morocco. The epicenter is believed to have been in the High Atlas mountain range located almost 70 kilometers away from Marrakesh.

The earthquake can be described as the strongest earthquake in the history of Morocco. Thousands of people are still stuck in many regions of Marrakesh. The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Morocco said that the heaviest casualties occurred in just south of Marrakesh. The king of Morocco ‘Mohammed VI’ has declared three days of mourning across the nation for those who lost their lives.

Many people are camping out because they have been left with no other choice. The king ordered rescue operations but it seems an arduous task considering the geography of the affected area. The High Atlas Mountain chain is a barrier that rescue teams would come across frequently. Climbing up and back can add up to the physical labour cost of the rescue team. The government is trying to get food and shelter to the earthquake victims. The United Nations says that it is ready to assist the government of Morocco led by King Mohammad VI in the rescue operations.

Morocco has the Atlantic Ocean in the west, a much-disputed border with Western Sahara in the south, Spain in the north, and a large African country- Algeria in the east.

Algeria has a history of rough diplomatic relations with Morocco. These two countries have been in ethnic, communal wars at different periods in their history. Algeria had blocked its border with Morocco since 1994. The country does not allow any Moroccan aircraft in its airspace. Algeria now looks to be showing little humanitarian gestures for the people of Morocco. Algerian President “Abdelmadjid Tebboune” said that the country would open its airspace for humanitarian or medical flights. This gesture from the Algerian government seems to apply only to the quake-related help as of now. Strains between these two nations are still visible.

Countries like Russia, China, Spain, Germany, France, Israel, UAE, and Austria have conveyed their condolences to the country. Although there has not been any statement about the monetary help from any country. International NGOs like the Red Cross started an initiative of its own to raise funds to help the people of Morocco.

By Tanishq Mohan

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