Rescue efforts continued Monday to search for survivors under the rubble as the latest death toll by the Moroccan authorities was estimated at over 2,862 with another 2,562 injured days after a devastating 6.8 earthquake struck Friday near the tourist hotspot.
The powerful earthquake struck the Atlas Mountains.
Moroccan and Spanish rescuers there were hard at work trying to extract five members of a family from a house that had been crushed by the quake.
According to AFP, Moroccan troops were handing out hundreds of blankets to residents who had lost their homes.
“My mother died, her house is ruined. My place in Amizmiz no longer exists so we sleep outside in tents with my two children aged four months and six years,” said a 32-year-old construction worker.
“No one from the authorities has offered us accommodation. We are completely lost.”
In the rural commune of Ighil, at the epicentre of the quake, helicopters made several round trips to ferry aid, AFP reported.
The roads leading to the village were clogged with ambulances and cars trying to deliver aid, but access had been cut off by a mudslide.
“I walked 15 kilometres on foot from my village… to look for food,” said Lahcen Ait Malik. “Our children have nothing left to eat.”
Albert Vasquez, the Spanish unit’s communications officer, said time was short, warning that “it’s very difficult to find people alive after three days” but “hope is still there”.
The rescuers are assisted by four dogs and microcameras that can be fed into the rubble in an effort to detect signs of life.
Rescue teams from countries
Rabat on Sunday announced it had accepted offers to send search and rescue teams from Britain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, as well as Spain.
Britain said it would send 60 people, as well as search dogs and rescue equipment.
The earthquake wiped out entire villages in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains.
Many houses in remote mountain villages were built from mud bricks.
While the foreign teams begin to arrive, Moroccan authorities have erected emergency shelters. Bright yellow tents were visible along the road into Tikht, a village which has effectively ceased to exist.
Members of the government’s civil protection service carried camp beds from a military-type truck toward the tents.
Previously home to at least 100 families, Tikht has been reduced to a tangle of timber, chunks of masonry as well as broken plates, shoes and the occasional intricately patterned rug.
“Life is finished here,” said Mohssin Aksum, 33, who had family in the settlement. “The village is dead.”
Citizens reported to hospitals in Marrakesh and elsewhere to donate blood for the injured. Among the donors were members of Morocco´s national football team and renowned French-Moroccan comic Jamel Debbouze.
Other volunteers organised food and essential goods to help quake victims, after complaints that authorities were slow to respond.