Even though it has been more than two months since a 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit the Marrakesh region of Morocco, the country is still far from recovering from the devastation it left behind.
Video captured this week by shows blocks of rubble and debris where buildings once stood. It was filmed by ShelterBox, a non-profit that provides emergency aid to people displaced by disasters across the globe.
The President of ShelterBox USA is a Connecticut native from Naugatuck. Right now, Kerri Murray is on the ground in Morocco, helping in the heartbreaking situation.
“There are mosques from the 12th century that are now rubble. You experience tremors aftershocks every day and that releases more large rocks into the roads, it’s very dangerous,” Murray said. “What I’ve also found is so many people in these communities not only lost their homes, but they lost loved ones. And that’s mothers, fathers, husbands, grandmothers and so these folks have really been dealing with a horrible loss.”
The earthquake killed 3,000 people and displaced more than 500,000, according to ShelterBox.
It’s why the team is now providing uprooted families with emergency housing: standard relief tents. They are also bringing in essentials like solar lanterns, high-thermal blankets, and cooking sets.
This is despite the logistical challenges of reaching the Atlas Mountains, navigating fallen debris and a single road with harrowing turns.
Time is of the essence with winter approaching.
“We’ve reached about 20 separate villages and we’re bringing emergency shelter and essential supplies to these communities that are awaiting winter,” Murray said. “Very quickly, it will come the next few weeks, they’ll likely have their first snowfall, and the temperatures can be freezing at night. Most of these villages were heavily destroyed. Many villages I visited were 90 to 95 percent destroyed, completely turned to rubble.”
Murray has been meeting with so many people who are just starting to process the tragedy.
“I met this wonderful woman that I spent some time with yesterday, Fatima, and she was dressed in white, a white robe, head to toe,” Murray said. “That is what you wear when you’re in a state of mourning and her husband was crushed in the middle of the night in the earthquake and she just said she’s incredibly lonely.”
Yet in the midst of such loss and destruction, Murray says a silver lining is the community banding together.
“Yesterday, I was doing a distribution tour in this is an area that suffered so much devastation and I couldn’t believe just the sense of fortitude and perseverance and the sense of community,” Murray said “That’s what you see, is that on the worst day ever, you often see the very best of humanity.”
Murray says ShelterBox has used up many of their supplies this year responding to Ukraine, as well as other global crises. She says the non-profit organization is always looking for people to get involved by donating or volunteering.