9 September 2023, Mumbai: In the quiet hours of a Friday night in Morocco, the earth unleashed its fury, sending tremors that would forever change the lives of those in its path. A powerful earthquake, with a preliminary magnitude of 6.8 according to the US Geological Survey but measured at 7 on the Richter scale by Morocco’s National Seismic Monitoring and Alert Network, struck with relentless force. Its arrival at 11:11 pm was marked by shaking that seemed to stretch on for an eternity, lasting several seconds that felt like an eternity for those who experienced it.
The old city of Marrakech, a UNESCO World Heritage site
The aftermath of this seismic upheaval is a somber reminder of the unpredictability of nature. At least 296 lives have been tragically claimed by this disaster, leaving families and communities shattered in its wake. Another 153 souls have been left injured, their pain echoing the trauma of that fateful night. The devastation was widespread, affecting not just cities and towns but also the very heart of Morocco’s heritage. Videos captured the harrowing scenes as buildings crumbled into piles of rubble and dust. The old city of Marrakech, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its famous red walls, did not escape unscathed. Parts of its historic beauty now bear the scars of this ruthless earthquake.
Tourists, visitors, and locals alike were caught in the chaos that unfolded. Videos circulated, revealing the frantic moments as people rushed out of restaurants and public spaces, their screams drowned out by the pulsating beats of club music, a stark contrast to the catastrophe that unfolded.
Earthquake nestled about 70 kilometers south of the bustling city of Marrakech
The epicenter of this disaster was high in the majestic Atlas Mountains, nestled about 70 kilometers south of the bustling city of Marrakech. This region, known for its natural beauty and popular destinations like Toubkal, North Africa’s highest peak, and the Oukaimeden ski resort, found itself at the epicenter of nature’s wrath. The US Geological Survey reported that the epicenter lay 18 kilometers beneath the Earth’s surface, while Morocco’s seismic agency placed it at 8 kilometers below, a stark reminder of the immense forces at play beneath our feet.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended a hand of condolence
The impact of this earthquake rippled far beyond Morocco’s borders. Reports came in from distant lands like Portugal and Algeria, both feeling the tremors in solidarity with the people of Morocco. In moments like these, borders blur, and humanity unites in shared empathy for those affected by the capriciousness of our planet. Amidst this tragedy, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended a hand of condolence and support. He expressed his deep pain at the loss of lives in Morocco and offered India’s assistance during this challenging time. It’s a testament to the interconnectedness of our global community, where nations come together to provide solace and aid in moments of despair.
As we grapple with the aftermath of this earthquake, we are reminded of the resilience of the human spirit. In the face of nature’s fury, communities rally together to support one another, and nations extend a helping hand to those in need. The path to recovery may be long and arduous, but the strength of unity and compassion will guide the way.
By Yashika Desai