When the earthquake ended late on Friday, the town of Moulay Brahim, which is carved into the Atlas Mountains, was in ruins, with hundreds of homes destroyed and walls reduced to rubble. Crews quickly began searching for desperate sounds of life inside the ruins.

Moulay Brahim, a town of less than 3,000 residents, drew visitors and outdoor enthusiasts with its breathtaking landscapes and close proximity to Marrakech. Small hotels and cafes abound in the streets, which gaze out over gorges and lush valleys.

However, the situation in the community is dismal in the wake of the 6.8-magnitude earthquake that killed more than 2,100 people throughout Morocco.

People live in clay brick and cinder block dwellings in the impoverished rural town about 28 miles northeast of the epicenter of the earthquake, many of which are no longer standing or safe to occupy. Homes with damage revealed their interiors by falling walls, and their debris tumbled down hills.

As terrified locals sought refuge in the streets, chaos and panic ensued. Some of them cleaned up the mess and pulled out the bodies one by one when they got back to their communities. People gathered and sobbed in front of a community health clinic as further fatalities became known.

The Interior Ministry claimed that Marrakech and five provinces close to the epicenter were home to the majority of the deaths, which had risen to almost 2,400.

Authorities in Moulay Brahim issued a warning that many locations were still too weak for people to approach and that there was still a chance that aftershocks may topple whatever structures were still standing. Overlooking Moulay Brahim, a minaret had been severely damaged and appeared to be in danger of falling down in another quake.


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