Morocco experienced a weekend of tragedy and triumph, as a devastating earthquake killed more than 2,100 people, while the country also celebrated sporting victories and hosted the G20 summit. Here is a summary of the main events that took place in Morocco over the weekend.
Tragedy Strikes: Morocco Earthquake Claims Over 2,100 Lives
On Friday night, a powerful 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck near the town of Oukaïmedene in western Morocco, causing widespread damage and destruction. The quake was felt across the country and as far as Casablanca and Marrakech. More than 2,100 people were killed and 5,500 people injured in the disaster, according to official figures. Many more may be trapped beneath collapsing structures. The earthquake also triggered landslides and cut off roads and electricity in some areas.
The Moroccan government declared a state of emergency and mobilized the army and civil protection forces to assist in the rescue and relief efforts. King Mohammed VI visited the affected areas and expressed his condolences to the victims’ families. He also ordered the allocation of 1 billion dirhams (about $110 million) for emergency aid and reconstruction.
The international community also expressed its solidarity and support for Morocco. Germany and Austria sent rescue teams and equipment to help with the search for survivors. The United Nations offered humanitarian assistance and coordination. Several countries, including France, Spain, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, and the United States, pledged financial or material aid to Morocco.
Meanwhile, the Moroccan national soccer team showed their compassion by donating blood to help the injured. The team was preparing for a World Cup qualifier match against Sudan on Saturday, which they won 3-0.
Sporting Victories in Morocco
Despite the tragedy, Morocco also had some reasons to celebrate over the weekend, as it hosted some major sporting events. The U.S. Open tennis tournament was held in Rabat, where American teenager Coco Gauff won her first Grand Slam title by defeating Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka in three sets on Saturday. Gauff became the youngest American to win the U.S. Open since Serena Williams in 1999.
On Sunday, Serbian star Novak Djokovic won his fourth U.S. Open title by beating Russian Daniil Medvedev in straight sets. Djokovic equaled Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles and strengthened his claim to be the greatest tennis player of all time.
In soccer news, Spanish soccer federation president Luis Rubiales resigned on Sunday after facing criticism for kissing player Jenni Hermoso on the lips without her consent following Spain’s Women’s World Cup victory in August. Rubiales said he decided to step down after being suspended by FIFA and indicted by Spanish prosecutors for sexual assault and coercion.
Other Events Over the Weekend in Morocco
Morocco also hosted the G20 summit in New Delhi on Saturday and Sunday, where leaders of the world’s major economies discussed issues such as green development, climate finance, inclusive growth, technological transformation, multilateral institutions, women-led development, and global health. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired the summit and welcomed King Mohammed VI as a guest of honor.
The hunt for escaped killer Danelo Cavalcante continued over the weekend, as authorities tracked him down using thermal heat technology from an aircraft before a U.S. Border Patrol dog named Yoda pinned him down on Wednesday morning. Cavalcante had been on the run since August 31 when he broke out of a prison in Pennsylvania where he was serving a life sentence for stabbing his ex-girlfriend to death.
In politics news, California Governor Gavin Newsom named Democratic strategist Laphonza Butler as Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s replacement in the U.S. Senate following the senator’s death on Friday. Butler is the president of EMILY’s List, a group that works to elect Democratic women and will be the third Black woman to ever serve in the Senate.
In media news, NBC’s “Meet the Press” announced that Kristen Welker will take over as host of the longest-running show in television history from Chuck Todd starting next week. Welker is an award-winning journalist who has been NBC’s chief White House correspondent since 2011.
In culture and trends news, Morocco celebrated its rich heritage and diversity with various festivals and events over the weekend. Some of them included:
- The Marrakech International Film Festival, which showcased films from around the world and honored Moroccan cinema legends.
- The Fez Festival of World Sacred Music, which featured performances by artists from different faiths and traditions.
- The Casablanca Fashion Week, which displayed the latest creations by Moroccan designers and models.
- The Rabat Book Fair, which promoted reading and literacy among young people.
Aftermath of Morocco Earthquake
As Morocco recovers from the earthquake that shook its core over the weekend, many questions remain about its impact and implications. How will Morocco rebuild its infrastructure and economy? How will Morocco cope with the trauma and grief of losing so many lives? How will Morocco ensure the safety and security of its people and visitors?
King Mohammed VI has vowed to lead the recovery efforts and provide all the necessary support to the affected regions. He has also thanked the international community for its assistance and solidarity. He has visited some of the earthquake patients at a hospital in Marrakech and donated blood to help the injured.
Many tourists who were in Morocco at the time of the earthquake shared their experiences and reactions on social media. Some praised the resilience and hospitality of the Moroccan people, while others expressed their shock and fear. Some decided to cut their trips short and return home, while others chose to stay and help or continue their travels.
The question of whether tourists should still visit Morocco after the earthquake is a complex one. On one hand, Morocco is a beautiful and diverse country that offers many attractions and experiences for travelers. On the other hand, Morocco is facing a humanitarian crisis that requires urgent attention and resources. Some experts suggest that tourists should avoid the areas most affected by the earthquake, but support the rest of the country by visiting other destinations and spending money in the local economy. Others advise tourists to postpone their trips until the situation stabilizes and improves.
Many organizations and individuals have launched fundraising appeals to help Morocco in its time of need. Some of them include:
- The Moroccan Red Crescent, which is providing emergency relief and medical care to the victims.
- The United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund, which is allocating $15 million to support humanitarian operations in Morocco.
- The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, which is appealing for $20 million to assist 120,000 people affected by the earthquake.
- The World Food Programme, which is distributing food rations to 50,000 people in need.
- The Islamic Relief USA, which is delivering tents, blankets, hygiene kits, and water purification tablets to the survivors.
Morocco has faced a weekend of tragedy and triumph, as it dealt with a devastating earthquake while also celebrating sporting victories and hosting the G20 summit. The country has shown its strength and solidarity in the face of adversity but also needs the support and compassion of the international community. Morocco remains a vibrant and diverse nation that welcomes visitors from around the world but also asks for their understanding and respect during this difficult time.