Devastating Earthquake in Morocco: Isolated Village of Ardouz Waits for Help to Arrive
Nearly Eight Hours of Waiting for Help in Remote Moroccan Village After Earthquake
In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Morocco, the remote village of Ardouz waited nearly eight hours for help to arrive. This small mountain village, located in the High Atlas Mountains, is both enchanting and cruel in its isolation.
Isolated Mountain Settlements Remain Inaccessible
Even a week after the deadliest earthquake in generations, some mountain settlements in Morocco are still isolated and inaccessible by road. The exact number of these isolated enclaves has not been revealed by the authorities.
Ardouz: A Village Connected by One Winding Road
Ardouz, however, is connected to the outside world through a single winding cobblestone road. This road passes through dusty apple orchards and a dry river bed before reaching steep mountain slopes. Despite the disaster, Ardouz, which was home to about 200 people, is still accessible.
The Epicenter and the Scars of the Disaster
The epicenter of the earthquake, where over 2,900 people lost their lives and hundreds of thousands were left homeless, lies less than 10 kilometers (about 6 miles) south of Ardouz. 28-year-old Abdul Hakim Al-Husseini, who lost his mother and grandparents in the collapse of their house, bears the indelible scars of that fateful night.
An Agonizing Wait for Help
Al-Husseini witnessed the agonizing wait for help in Ardouz. Despite being long, the wait was shorter compared to some other isolated areas. With the nearest hospital an hour away and providing limited treatment, the wounded could not be transported or cared for. They were kept warm and waited for rescuers to arrive, which took about eight hours.
Challenges Faced by Remote Villages
Many locals in these remote villages are forced to seek work in urban centers due to limited opportunities. Agriculture remains an important source of livelihood in these small Atlas communities. However, poverty is not the sole defining factor of their lives. Before the disaster, the people in Ardouz lived a simple and peaceful life.
Education and the Impact of the Earthquake
The remoteness of places like Ardouz often leads to an early end to formal education. The local primary school, although still standing, has suffered significant structural damage and is unusable. With no school anymore, the future of the children is uncertain.
Living in Aid Tents with Uncertain Future
Survivors of the earthquake in Ardouz are currently staying in government-provided aid tents. However, these tents lack floors and will be inadequate as shelter once the rainy season and cold weather arrive. The village is situated at an altitude of 1,700 meters (5,500 feet).
Fond Memories and Optimism Amid Hardships
Despite the hardships faced, Al-Husseini holds on to his fond memories of childhood in Ardouz. He recalls playing and hiking in the mountains, enjoying the breathtaking views. In comparison to the suffocating atmosphere of cities, he finds solace in the village’s isolated yet serene environment.