The government was also working on a plan, in line with directives from the Royal Palace, to begin reconstruction efforts and compensate people who lost their homes, a statement read.
TALAT N’YAAQOUB, Morocco — The death toll from Morocco’s devastating earthquake neared 3,000 people, the government announced Monday, as international rescuers arrived and the tremendous obstacles facing emergency workers — struggling to reach those trapped under rubble, in remote mountain hamlets, along roads blocked by landslides — burst into view.
Washington Post reporters toured a string of devastated villages in the High Atlas Mountains south of Marrakesh: from Asni, in the foothills, where the military had set up a field hospital, to the Ouirgane reservoir, where more than half a dozen members of one family were killed, to Talat N’Yaaqoub, where the destruction seemed total and the smell of death was everywhere.
Friday’s 6.8-magnitude earthquake, the strongest to strike Morocco in more than a century, has killed at least 2,862 people and injured more than 2,500 — ravaging communities already struggling with poverty and isolation. On Sunday, the Moroccan government said it had accepted some foreign assistance for the rescue mission, including from Spain, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Britain.
But other governments, including Germany, suggested that their offers of assistance had been met with silence, causing puzzlement and consternation, given the enormity of the challenge and the shrinking time left to find survivors.
A 50-person team from Germany’s Federal Agency for Technical Relief assembled at Cologne Bonn Airport over the weekend but was sent home Sunday. Rescue workers in other parts of Europe, including France, also remain grounded.
In the earthquake zone Monday, rescue efforts were carried out by a patchwork of emergency responders, including soldiers and government civil defense workers, volunteers from the private sector and locals, digging through rubble to recover relatives, often with their bare hands. Military helicopters flew overhead, apparently trying to reach the most remote areas.
The government announced Monday that Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch had presided over an emergency meeting in Rabat, the capital, where he vowed to “continue relief efforts and expedite crisis management measures,” while “providing support and assistance to citizens in the affected areas.”
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