GRATTAN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Crews are working to recover the bodies of nearly 3,000 people who lost their lives in the earthquake last week in Morocco.
Hanane Fernandez was born in the country and now calls West Michigan home. Her family and friends survived the earthquake, but they know people who lost their lives.
“It was very overwhelming for me,” Fernandez said. “I got a message about 7 a.m. from one of my friend that — she lives there in Casablanca, and then she said that we got hit. So I had no idea what was going on.”
Fernandez, who has friends in the Marrakesh area, is sad to hear about the loss of life and what the earthquake did to historic buildings.
“They got damaged. And fortunately, they were there for years and years and years. It was (a) very good destination for tourist to go and discover the history of Morocco,” Fernandez said.
Those who survived the quake now face housing challenges.
“People, they could not feel safe sleeping in their own house and so they went out on the street. And there’s still people sleeping on the street, unfortunately,” Fernandez said.
The most severe damage was to small towns in the Atlas Mountains with homes made from clay bricks.
“People, they didn’t just deal with their house coming down. It’s cliffs and mountains and rocks, big rocks,” Fernandez said.
While she is confident they will rebuild, it will take time — and the area will forever be changed by the earthquake.
“Monuments and historical building(s), you cannot rebuild those. You just can’t,” Fernandez said.
She recently visited the region a couple of years ago with her family.
“Marrakesh, it’s a beautiful, beautiful city, gorgeous city,” Fernandez said. “I call it the red city because everything is red.”
She is confident the charm of the city will still bring people from around the world.