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Sorrow here … Rush aid, charities told

KUWAIT CITY, Sept 9, (Agencies): The Kuwaiti Government has been informed of the directions by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to all concerned entities to prepare food supplies destined for “our brothers in the sisterly Kingdom of Morocco.” His Highness the Amir’s directions came to cope with the repercussions of the earthquake that hit several regions in southern Morocco late on Friday. His Highness the Amir has expressed heartfelt solace for the victims, his wishes for the injured so their injuries may be healed as soon as possible, and praying to His Almighty Allah to preserve the kingdom of Morocco and its brotherly people.

Tourists stand outside a hotel after an earthquake in Marrakech, Morocco, Friday, Sept. 8, 2023. A rare, powerful earthquake struck Morocco late Friday night, killing hundreds of people and damaging buildings from villages in the Atlas Mountains to the historic city of Marrakech.

The Government has assigned the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to organize the dispatch of the Kuwaiti relief supplies to Morocco in coordination with the Ministry of Finance and the Kuwait Red Crescent Society (KRCS). His Highness the Deputy Amir and Crown Prince Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah sent on Saturday a cable of condolences to Moroccan King Mohammad VI over the devastating earthquake, that hit the kingdom. His Highness the Deputy Amir wished for the swift recovery of those injured in the earthquake and prayed for the people who passed away. His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah sent on Saturday a cable of condolences to Moroccan King Mohammad VI, expressing his deepest sorrow over those affected by the recent devastating earthquake, which hit the kingdom.

Speaker of the National Assembly Ahmad Al-Saadoun also sent on Saturday cables of condolences to the Moroccan parliament’s Naam Miyara — President of the House of Councilors — and Rachid Tabli Alami — President of the House of Representatives — expressing to them his condolences over the recent devastating earthquake that their country.

Meanwhile, the Kuwait Red Crescent Society (KRCS) on Saturday expressed readiness to dispatch assistance to the brotherly people of Morocco in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that ravaged southern regions of the country. KRCS Secretary General Maha Al-Barjas said in a statement to KUNA that the society contacted the Moroccan Red Crescent Society to offer solace over the fatalities and expressed wishes for the injured so they may recover soon. Al-Barjas affirmed that the Kuwaiti association is fully ready to help the Moroccan people and secure necessities for the victims of the fiery tremors.

Earlier, Minister of Social, Family, and Childhood Affairs Sheikh Feras Al-Sabah on Saturday addressed a circular to all charities in Kuwait to organize campaigns for relieving victims of the fiery earthquake that jolted Morocco. The ministry said in a statement posted on the website X that the initiative was in line with instructions by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and the State of Kuwait’s standing humanitarian role at diverse levels, locally and abroad.

The State of Kuwait Ambassador to Morocco Abdulatif Alyahya affirmed on Saturday that all Kuwaiti citizens in Morocco were safe and none was hurt in the quake that jolted the nation. The envoy said in remarks to KUNA that the diplomatic mission contacted the Moroccan authorities to ensure that no Kuwaitis were among the victims. “All the information we have gathered affirms that all our citizens present in Morocco are safe,” he said.

A rare, powerful earthquake struck Morocco late Friday night, killing more than 1,000 people and damaging buildings from villages in the Atlas Mountains to the historic city of Marrakech. But the full toll was not known as rescuers struggled to get through boulder-strewn roads to the remote mountain villages hit hardest. People woken by the quake ran into the streets in terror and disbelief. A man visiting a nearby apartment said dishes and wall hangings began raining down, and people were knocked off their feet and chairs. A woman described fleeing her house after an “intense vibration.’’

A man holding a child said he was jarred awake in bed by the shaking. State television showed people clustered in the streets of Marrakech, afraid to go back inside buildings that might still be unstable. Many wrapped themselves in blankets as they tried to sleep outside. The magnitude 6.8 quake was the hardest to hit Morocco in 120 years, and it toppled buildings and walls in ancient cities made from stone and masonry not designed to withstand quakes. “The problem is that where destructive earthquakes are rare, buildings are simply not constructed robustly enough to cope with strong ground shaking, so many collapses resulting in high casualties,” said Bill McGuire, professor emeritus of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London. “I would expect the final death toll to climb into the thousands once more is known. As with any big quake, aftershocks are likely, which will lead to further casualties and hinder search and rescue.” In a sign of the huge scale of the disaster, Morocco’s King Mohammed VI ordered the armed forces to mobilize air and land assets, specialized search and rescue teams, and a surgical field hospital, according to a statement from the military. But despite an outpouring of offers of help from around the world, the Moroccan government had not formally asked for assistance, a step required before outside rescue crews could deploy.

In Marrakech, the famous Koutoubia Mosque, built in the 12th century, was damaged, but the extent was not immediately clear. Its 69-meter (226-foot) minaret is known as the “roof of Marrakech.” Moroccans also posted videos showing damage to parts of the famous red walls that surround the old city, a UNESCO World Heritage site. At least 1,000 people died, mostly in Marrakech and five provinces near the quake’s epicenter, and another 672 people were injured, Morocco’s Interior Ministry reported Saturday morning. Of the injured, the ministry wrote, 205 were seriously hurt.

Rescuers worked through the night, searching for survivors in darkness, dust, and rubble. Most of the tiny village of Moulay Brahim, carved into a mountainside south of Marrakech, was uninhabitable after walls crumbled, windows shattered and more than a dozen homes were reduced to piles of concrete and bent metal poles. At least five residents were trapped. Ayoub Toudite said he had been working out with friends at the gym when “we felt a huge shake like it was doomsday.”

In 10 seconds, he said, everything was gone. “We found casualties and people running and kids crying,” he told The Associated Press. “We never saw anything like this, 20 deaths in the area, 30 injuries.” Rescuers were using hammers and axes to free a man trapped under a two-story building. People capable of squeezing into the tiny space were giving him water. “We are all terrified that this happens again,” Toudite said.

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