The death toll in Morocco rose to more than 2,800 on Monday, just three days after the country’s deadliest earthquake sent people scouring through rubble from buildings hoping to find survivors.
The catastrophic and rare magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck the North African country late Friday night, with an epicenter near Ighil, a town in the Al Hauz Province.
Ighil is located nearly 44 miles south of the capital city of Marrakesh, and shock waves were felt as far away as Portugal and Algeria.
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As of Monday, rescuers were racing against time to locate survivors, as the death toll had risen to 2,862, with 2,562 people injured, according to State TV.
Rescuers feared that the region’s traditional mud brick homes reduced the chances of locating survivors as the earthquake caused the homes to crumble.
In the High Atlas Mountains, villagers climbed mountains of rubble where homes once stood.
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Mohammed Aberda was seen going through the debris on Monday where he had recovered the body of his wife, looking for his 9-year-old daughter with the help of his brothers and friends.
Aberda told Fox News there was no way to save them.
“I’m burning from the inside,” he said. “It hurts like hell.”
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In the village where Aberda lives, there is no heavy equipment, nor soldiers.
The first rescue team arrived on Monday morning with stretchers and bare hands, nothing else.
The residents continue to search for survivors or the dead, knowing the military and government cannot reach the area, and they will have to do this themselves.
Reuters reported that Antonio Nogales, a Spanish rescuer with the aid group Bomberos Unidos Sin Fronteras (United Firefighters Without Borders), filmed footage from the remote village of Imi N’Tala, showing searchers and dogs climbing on steep slopes now covered with rubble.
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“The level of destruction is…absolute,” Nogales said. “Not a single house has stayed upright.”
Nogales also said he was sure there would be some rescues in the coming days, adding some people may be in collapsed structures with pockets of air.
“As I say, we never give up hope,” he said.
Earthquakes are considered rare in North Africa: the Moroccan cities of Al Hoceima and Agadir were hit by earthquakes in 2004 and 1960, respectively. The earthquake in Al Hoceima had a magnitude of 6.4, while Agadir’s was 5.8.
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The quake hit Marrakesh hard, ruining several historical buildings in the city. The city’s Koutoubia Mosque, which dates back to the 12th century, was damaged to an unknown extent.
The ancient red walls that surround the Medina of Marrakesh – a UNESCO World Heritage site – were also damaged by the quake.
Andrea Vacchiano of Fox News Digital, as well as Reuters, contributed to this report.