Morocco earthquake: Doctor drives ambulance 1,800 miles from London to Marrakech

This article originally appeared on The Daily Mail
Written By: Eleanor Dye and Olivia Jones

A doctor has driven an ambulance from London to Morocco to help with the earthquake effort, as a British charity also launches an ‘urgent relief fund’ to help families. 

The hero left home at 2am on Saturday, after he heard news of a 6.8-magnitude earthquake hitting Morocco just before midnight, destroying homes and damaging historic buildings.  

Taking with him an ambulance full of medical equipment, he made the 1,800-mile journey alone to Marrakech, before four others joined him by plane.  

The country’s strongest-ever earthquake has so far claimed more than 2,100 lives and injured over 2,400, after it struck 72 kilometres (45 miles) southwest of the tourist hub.

Around 300,000 people were affected by the quake, the UN has estimated, with many left homeless or fearing more aftershocks forced to slept on the streets for the past three nights.

Meanwhile, a British charity has also launched an urgent relief fund to help the victims of the disaster.  

Ella Williams, a PHD student at Oxford University, is flying out from the UK to help the relief effort in person. 

Ella, who works for the British Moroccan Society, lives and works around Talat n’Yakoub, near the villages at the centre of the earthquake. 

She said: ‘The damage to the rural areas has been catastrophic. Many families are still trapped under the rubble. Some villages have no survivors. 

‘I have lost students, friends and neighbours and I am still waiting on news of many missing loved ones.’

The English teacher said she is personally co-ordinating the Moroccan society’s aid fund and aims to be on the ground in the country by 6.30pm today. 

The relief fund will provide immediate assistance to the villages most in need, including those that have not received any help yet, to provide drinking water, food, powdered baby milk, blankets and shelter. 

The only road access to the Talat n’Yakoub region was completely blocked by multiple landslides until the early hours of Sunday morning. 

The Moroccan military is still working to clear access to the more remote regions. There has been no medical aid to many villages due to lack of access, and power is still down. 

Many people who were pulled from the rubble later passed away due to lack of medical help.

Ella worked as an English teacher in the High Atlas between 2019 and 2020, an area that now features some of the worst-affected villages. 

The settlements in the rugged mountain range are often remote and rescuers face a race against time to reach them to deliver aid.  

Marrakech is Morocco’s most widely visited destination, known for its palaces, spice markets, tanneries and Jemaa El Fna, its noisy square full of food vendors and musicians.

Several hundred people who are unable to return home have since set up camp in Place des Ferblantiers, near the south-west of the city and the medina.

Survivors have been left struggling to find food, water and shelter – and have been forced to spend multiple nights in the open. 

Morocco has declared three days of national mourning in the wake of the disaster. 

BMS Chairman Mike Wood commented. ‘Our thoughts are with those immediately effected by this immense natural disaster, as well as their relatives and friends. 

‘As the tragic situation unfolds we are working closely with our partner associations to quickly get funds into the hands of those dealing with the immediate aftermath.’ 

You can donate to the British Moroccan Society’s Earthquake appeal here.

This article originally appeared on The Daily Mail and has been republishd here.
Written By: Eleanor Dye and Olivia Jones