Tahar Ben Jelloun – The poor, first victims | EUROtoday

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The Franco-Moroccan author, born in Fez, evokes the victims of the earthquake which struck the Marrakech area, and the tragedy which devastated a whole nation.

By Tahar Ben Jelloun

A man carrying a young victim in Moulay Brahim, in Al Haouz province.
A person carrying a younger sufferer in Moulay Brahim, Al Haouz province.

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Lhe earthquake that struck southern Morocco was magnitude 7 on the Richter scale. More highly effective than the earthquake which was an awesome tragedy in 1960 in Agadir (5.7) or in Al Hoceïma in 2004 (6.3). The magnitude can also be greater than what hit Japan or China not too long ago. The tremors have been felt in a number of cities throughout the nation, notably in Rabat, Essaouira, Casablanca, Tiznit, and even in neighboring international locations. The epicenter was situated at 30.92 levels north latitude and eight.42 levels west longitude, in line with the German Research Center for Geosciences (GFZ).

Located within the Haouz area, Morocco’s breadbasket, within the commune of Ighil, this earthquake left greater than 1,000 lifeless and 672 injured, and it’s feared that the variety of victims will proceed to extend. The well-known Jemaa el-Fna sq. was hit. A minaret fell. Everything that was constructed with out earthquake precautions was affected. Even although assist arrived shortly, panic is seen within the metropolis of Marrakech and its environment whereas many residents are nonetheless beneath the rubble.

READ ALSOMorocco: “The earthquake of the century”

Moroccans bear in mind or have heard of Agadir, which was wiped off the map one morning in 1960. It is a tragedy which is a part of the nation’s reminiscence and whose historical past is transmitted from era to era. For the oldest, the reminiscence of Agadir is there. And he is nonetheless scary. A fatality in opposition to which we will do nothing. Except that, since 1960, all trendy constructions have obeyed anti-seismic guidelines to withstand earthquakes. However, these precautions weren’t revered by the farmers, who have been typically poor and uninformed of the dangers of earthquakes.

They consider that life and demise are within the arms of God and that, in opposition to divine will, nobody can do something. In the Haouz area, the homes which fell on their occupants at 11:11 p.m. are conventional, easy homes, typically product of adobe. This is the case in all of the Moroccan countryside. The earthquake prompted all the standard buildings to break down within the countryside and likewise within the medina of Marrakech. For worry of aftershocks, folks took to the streets, and a few slept in parks, removed from any building.

We are witnessing fully comprehensible scenes of panic. Desolation and helplessness regardless of the assistance which was very fast to the scene. I known as household in Casablanca and Marrakech. People felt the earthquake nicely. They have been scared and took to the streets. After spending the evening exterior, they returned residence, nervous.

The poor did not take into consideration the earthquake

Irrational interpretations are rife. The earthquake is a warning from Allah, even a punishment as a result of morality is now not revered. This is the mentality of the believing and fatalistic frequent folks. But Morocco is crossed by shifting tectonic plates. We know this, however we neglect that at some point these plates will collide and trigger a serious earthquake.

In sixty years, the nation has been hit twice within the south, as soon as within the north. We can say that Morocco has been warned. For worry of aftershocks, persons are distraught and wander the streets of Marrakech, even when the fallen buildings are removed from town, aside from a couple of partitions within the medina and Jemaa el-Fna sq..

It is the poor who die first. Poor as a result of they dwell within the countryside, construct their homes with their arms, utilizing precarious supplies, rammed earth, clay. They did not take into consideration the earthquake. And it’s they who lie beneath the rubble of the homes constructed with their arms.