Moroccan student unable to contact loved ones after deadly …
A Moroccan student has said she is living in a “dream” after losing contact with her family in areas of rural Morocco affected by an earthquake that killed more than 2,000 people.
Nawal Ait Idmou, 20, a student at Cadi Ayyad University in Marrakesh, who has lost friends in the earthquake, said she feels helpless but she “has to be strong” until she hears from family members.
Ms Idmou said her family are without electricity and unable to recharge mobile phones.
She told the PA news agency: “It’s like we are in a dream because we are so far from our families.
Rural areas of Morocco are most affected by the earthquake (Jamila Bamsaoud/PA)
“People are dying, people we know, like our friends, and we can’t do anything for them.
“At the moment, there is no electricity. People’s phones are dead.
“I talked with (my family) in the morning, but in the afternoon no one replied – my brother, my father, anyone in my family, no one knows what’s happening.”
She said aid is sparse, particularly medical supplies, and transporting supplies is difficult because of blocked roads and heavy traffic.
She explained: “In the mountains where my family lives, it is so bad.
“The houses are destroyed and engineers and doctors aren’t there. No one can go there.
“There is traffic and all the people are waiting for (engineers) to fix the roads so they can go through diversions.”
Nawal Ait Idmou (left) is currently safe in Marrakesh with her friend, Youssra Ait Tizgui (right) (Nawal Ait Idmou)
Ms Idmou is a student of Ella Williams, a member of the British Moroccan Society (BMS) charity, and an English teacher who lives and works in Morocco.
Ms Williams, 27, a PhD researcher at the University of Oxford, has been receiving updates from BMS colleagues on the ground who told her no aid is heading to rural parts of Morocco as only one road is open to traffic.
She told PA: “There’s only one road to this region leading to Marrakesh. It’s completely blocked.
“The Moroccan army is on the scene trying to clear the road so that aid can access the region, but as of yet no vehicles can pass through at all so there’s no aid coming from Marrakesh.
“With the British Moroccan Society, we’re trying to get as much information as possible about what’s happening.
“Many people’s phones have now died because they’re unable to charge them, so that makes it very, very challenging to find out which villages need the most aid.
“We have heard reports that in some villages there are no survivors left, so we’re still trying to get a clearer picture, but I think that the rate of the devastation is a lot worse than we initially thought.”
Ms Williams has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for aid and supplies for those worst affected by the earthquake, and Ms Idmou said it is “so important because all the people in the mountains, their houses (have collapsed). Money in this situation is so important to give life again to these villages”.
She added: “If anybody can help, every little helps. Just put yourself in this situation – we are all humans and we are all the same.”
Former international development secretary Rory Stewart said the UK should send “urgent cash” to help the people of Morocco.
The ex-Tory MP told Sky News: “The first thing is very urgent cash assistance because in these emergency situations, people’s lives have been devastated in a matter of minutes.
“I was in the Turkey earthquake… and what you find is a sense of complete devastation and terror because of the aftershocks. The most useful thing you can do is to get cash to people.
“It’s often very tempting to send food or clothes, but the markets are working in Morocco – if you give people cash they can address their own individual family needs.
“Often, if you’re sending clothes or food, you’re sending an inappropriate thing to people. So there are many organisations, I work with one called Give Directly that’s now providing cash support in Morocco.
“But you’ll see UN agencies and others going in. And I think getting the support in quickly is vital in those first three, four days.”
Ms Williams’s fundraising page is at www.gofundme.com/f/british-moroccan-society-earthquake-appeal
- ^ www.gofundme.com/f/british-moroccan-society-earthquake-appeal (www.gofundme.com)