SIX Malaga firefighters from Spain’s Andalucia returned on Friday after helping out in the salvage effort of the earthquake in Morocco.
They told Spanish journalists of how they did not hesitate for a moment to cross the Straits of Gibraltar to help in the search for survivors.
But despite their best efforts they were not able to rescue anyone from the rubble and confusion caused by the 6.8-magnitude quake centred 72 km south of Marrakesh.
Although they set off immediately after the disaster the Moroccan government only gave them access to the region on Sunday.
As members of Firefighters without Borders they described the challenging conditions they faced when they got there.
Nearly 3,000 people died when many of the buildings made of adobe, clay or wood, quickly collapsed during the quake, leaving their dwellers entombed inside.
“That is like being trapped under a mountain of sand,” one of them said.
Faced by damaged roads and long traffic jams, the team were delayed by continuing rockfalls after the largest earthquake in Morocco’s recent history.
But the five men and a woman did their best to distribute humanitarian aid.
They even came across a village where 112 of the 150 original inhabitants had died.
Before they left the area, bad weather moved in and they did their best to help distribute clothing to the thousands made homeless by the tragedy.
And they were shocked by the generosity of the people, who gave them the little they had.
“Just two days after the quake, some of the youngsters were already playing football, showing how strong they are,” one of the firemen said.
Apart from the 2,946 deaths reported by the Moroccan authorities, 2,501 were injured, many seriously.
NGOs from Spain, Qatar, the UK and the UAE sent firefighters to region but the Moroccan interior minister said they had rejected help from France and the USA.
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