new video loaded: Impasse, confusion and waiting: on the road with Spanish rescuers in Morocco
Impasse, confusion and waiting: on the road with Spanish rescuers in Morocco
Our video journalists joined a team of Spanish military rescuers in Morocco as they tried to save lives after the earthquake. They spent much of the day waiting for orders.
We left early Tuesday morning to try to catch one of these rescue crews that had recently arrived. And we found a professional rescue team from the Spanish army who just went into the mountains to these remote villages that are extremely difficult to reach. The Spanish team arrived on Sunday and was just given the green light to head to the mountains on Tuesday. We hoped for a miracle that they would save someone. But we quickly realized that because of logistics, they couldn’t do what they came to do. As you go deeper, you’ll notice that the damage increases and it becomes almost impossible to reach and access these villages. We arrive in this village, Ijjoukak, and the Spanish team is walking their dogs. They start jumping out of the truck. And then everything stops a bit. And we wonder what’s going on. There was no clear direction. It was really a frustrating and bizarre sense of passivity as they wait for guidance from the Moroccan army and government, who are directing all operations. And they just sat and waited. We had a moment to talk to one of the lieutenants. I try to ask him about the government’s role in all this, the disorganization. And then his captain interrupts me and says, ‘No political questions. We can’t talk about this.” When I spoke to another crew who were volunteering, he was able to talk much more candidly about what was going on. Did the military help with fuel and logistics? Tell me how they helped. Slowly. Things here in Morocco move very slowly. So you were also involved in the Turkish earthquake. How does this compare to the earthquake in Turkey? In Turkey, aid arrived so quickly and the government allowed people to work so quickly. Maybe you can work the first day. It’s all free for everyone. Here the problems are very slow. In the government’s defense, more rescue teams would likely have caused further gridlock and further delays in reaching these villages. We also noticed that in most of these remote villages, because they are so small, the villagers recovered most of their dead within the first two days. The volunteer texted us later and said they had made the same assessment and were in the process of packing up and wrapping up their entire rescue operation in Morocco. They said they simply couldn’t do what they came here to do.
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