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Gridlock, Confusion and Waiting: On the Road With Spanish Rescuers in Morocco
Our video journalists are embedded with a team of Spanish military rescuers in Morocco as they attempt to save lives after the earthquake. They have been waiting for orders all day.
We left early Tuesday morning to try to catch one of these rescue crews that had recently arrived. And we met a Spanish military professional rescue crew that was just going up in the mountains to these remote villages that were very difficult to access. The Spanish team arrived on Sunday and only got the green light to go to the mountains on Tuesday. We were hoping to see a miracle to see them save someone. But we quickly realized that logistically, they didn’t do what they should have done. As you continue to go deeper, you will notice that the damage is spreading and it is starting to become almost impossible to move and access these villages. We arrived at this village, Ijoukak, and the Spanish team was letting their dogs out. They start jumping out of the truck. And then, all sorts will stop. And we wonder what’s going on. There is no clear direction. It’s really frustrating and a strange sense of inaction because they’re waiting to be directed by the Moroccan military and government, which is leading all operations. And they just sit and wait. We had a few moments to talk to one of the lieutenants. I try to ask him about the government’s role in all this, the disorganization. And then his captain cut me off and said, “There are no political questions. We can’t discuss it.” When I spoke to another crew volunteer, he was able to speak more honestly about what was going on. Does the military help with fuel and logistics? Tell me how they help. Take it easy. Things here in Morocco is very slow. So you are in the Turkish earthquake, too. How does it compare to the earthquake in Turkey? In Turkey the help came very quickly and the government let people work very quickly. Maybe on the first day you can work. Free everything for everyone. Here it’s a very slow mess. In the government’s defense, more rescue crews are likely to cause more gridlock and more delays in reaching these villages. Also, we noticed that most of the these remote villages, because it was so small, the villagers recovered most of their dead within the first day or two. The volunteer texted us later and said they did the same assessment, and actually packing up and ending their entire rescue operation in Morocco. They said they just couldn’t do what they came here to do.
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