Paralysis, confusion and waiting: on the way with the Spanish rescuers in Morocco | ET REALITY

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Paralysis, confusion and waiting: on the way with the Spanish rescuers in Morocco

Our videojournalists joined a team of Spanish military rescuers in Morocco as they tried to save lives after the earthquake. They spent much of the day waiting for orders.

We set out early Tuesday morning to try to catch one of these rescuers who had recently arrived. And we found a Spanish military professional rescue team heading into the mountains towards these remote villages that are extremely difficult to access. The Spanish team arrived on Sunday and only on Tuesday received the green light to take to the mountains. We were hoping to see a miracle to see them rescue someone. But we quickly realized that with logistics they couldn’t do what they came to do. As you go deeper, you notice that the damage becomes more and more extensive and begins to make it almost impossible to move around and access these villages. We arrive at this town, Ijoukak, and the Spanish team is taking their dogs out. They’re starting to jump off the truck. And then, everything stops. And we wonder what is happening. There was no clear direction. It was a really frustrating and strange feeling of inaction because they are waiting to be directed by the Moroccan army and government, who direct all the operations. And they were just sitting and waiting. We had a few moments to talk with one of the lieutenants. I try to ask him about the government’s role in all this, the disorganization. And then his captain interrupts me and says: “No political questions. “We can’t talk about this.” When I spoke to another team who were volunteers, they were able to talk much more candidly about what was going on. Has the military been helping with fuel and logistics? Tell me how they have been helping you. Slowly. Things here in Morocco are going very slowly. So you were also in the Turkish earthquake. How does this compare to the Turkey earthquake? In Turkey the help came very quickly and the government let people work very quickly. Maybe the first day you can work. Everything is free for everyone. Here your problem is very slow. In the government’s defense, more rescue teams would probably have caused even more gridlock and even greater delays in reaching these villages. Additionally, we have noticed that in most of these remote villages, because they are so small, the villagers recovered most of their dead within the first day or two. The volunteer texted us later and said they had done the same assessment and were actually packing up and wrapping up their entire rescue operation in Morocco. They said they just couldn’t do what they came here to do.

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