Home » capucinecogne » My Blog » Blog » Earthquake in Marrakech – you always hope that it won’t hit you

Earthquakes, natural disasters, wars…

You never think that they will hit you. You always hope that they won’t impact you.

It’s human. Even though it happened somewhere to someone, and you empathise and feel for them from afar, you count your lucky stars and continue. How else are we meant to live?

But when it hits you, or an area close to you, or your loved ones – everything’s different.

A tanging ball in your stomach you can’t quite swallow;

A paralysis of not quite knowing what to do;

And once again counting your lucky stars that at least you weren’t under that crumbling building – and that you’re alive, despite the damages around you.

There hasn’t been a major earthquake in Morocco since 1962, when Agadir was razed to the ground.

This time, Marrakech was the closest city, and its centuries-old Medina, where I grew up, was where there were the most damages. Where the traditional buildings called riads, with their four walls around a courtyard, are mostly located.

Multiple riads crumbled, with certain walls simply detaching from the house, leaving a gaping hole with view on the sofa or the bed inside. Streets are full of rubble, some with no way to pass through apart from climbing over. All those things that appeared to just about be balancing – whether that be the pile of local Amazigh tribe carpets, the statue, or the ancient building – most likely fell. Some perhaps damaged forever, and some salvageable.

But as always seems to be the case – it’s the areas in most need which will be impacted the most. It’s the villages in the Atlas with so little resources and access that will undoubtedly suffer the most.

There, many houses are made of mud by locals and everything the villagers had, savings or precious objects alike, were most likely under that roof.  There, many won’t have the money to rebuild homes for themselves.

We can’t even imagine the damages in those villages for now.


It’s in moments like these where we wonder what the most effective way of helping is.

This morning I woke up, after finally falling asleep following calls with Morocco the night before, and I felt completely, utterly useless. This country I love, which I call home, was in fright and sadness and difficulty. And I was far away, and useless.  

All I wanted to do was be on the next flight out and take my car (and dog of course) with supplies, to drive to the villages where I so often hike.

But would that have been useful in any way? Or effective?

I’m not sure.

Emotions don’t necessarily lead to the wisest decisions. (and I was emotional)

But without emotions, we stay static.

We watch that earthquake in Hawaii and think “oh noo” and maybe donate £100 and feel better about ourselves.

That’s better than nothing – for sure.

But does it really make a difference?

How can we *really* make a difference?

Can we even really make a difference?

Those are the questions that have been stinging me all day.

I’ll let you know when I find the answer.