Many holidaymakers are also in the earthquake-affected area in Morocco. Travel organization TUI says it is still trying to contact more than 125 traveling tourists. Outgoing Minister of Foreign Affairs Bruins Slot says that the Netherlands is ready to help Morocco.
Erik van Drunen is on holiday in Marrakech. He had just returned from a camel tour in the desert and was standing in the lobby of his hotel when the earthquake struck. “We were standing in the hotel lobby when the ground started shaking. Your first thought is ‘what is this? An earthquake? An attack?’
The panic in the city was great, according to Van Drunen: “Many people ran outside into the square in panic.” It is not yet clear whether he can still continue his holiday. “In principle, we are going back in six days, but there is still a lot of uncertainty. This afternoon we will be in contact with our travel organization.”
The Flemish Jasper Van Biesen was in another hotel in Marrakech at the time of the earthquake: “At first you think it is a large truck, but then it started to shake even harder. The walls moved.”
Images of the damage in Marrakech:
Among the tourists is Mustapha Oumlil, who is with his wife in a hotel in Taroudant, about 250 kilometers south of Marrakech. “We felt it very badly, we were shocked out of bed,” he tells NOS.
Oumlil is unhurt, but describes it as being ‘as if a heavy freight train was passing by’: “Stuff fell off the wall, the ground started shaking, water from the swimming pool overflowed.” All hotel guests spent the night outside out of fear.
The earthquake was also clearly visible in Casablanca, about 250 kilometers north of Marrakech, says Emily Asbroek. “We were in our hotel on the eleventh floor around 11 p.m. when it started shaking really bad. It felt like you were standing in the middle of a concertina bus that was going back and forth.” She was unharmed and was able to spend the night in the hotel.
According to Asbroek, the city is now extinct. “There is a very strange, dead atmosphere on the street. Normally you have to watch out for all the traffic that is driving together. Now there is no traffic at all and all the streets are empty.”
Foreign Affairs: register online
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises people in the affected area to follow the instructions of local authorities. People who are in Morocco through a travel organization should contact that organization.
In addition, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises people in the area to register online to stay in touch with the ministry. The travel advice for the most part is still yellow. This means that the situation is different than in the Netherlands, but that in principle you can go there.
Dutch Moroccans are shocked:
Bouchaib Saadane, chairman of the Moroccan Dutch Partnership, is in contact with people in the area. He also said people in the capital Rabat felt the quake. “People woke up there because of noise and everyone was in panic,” he told NOS on NPO Radio 1.
The Partnership says there will soon be a fundraiser for the earthquake victims. “We first need to know what is needed and then we make a plan to organize an aid operation. At the moment, medical help is mainly needed.”
On behalf of the Netherlands, outgoing Minister of Foreign Affairs Bruins Slot says that the Netherlands is prepared to provide aid, but that no request for help has yet been received from Morocco. For example, the Netherlands could send a special USAR rescue team.
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