On the outskirts of a ruined village, residents draw water from the well to transport it, on donkeys, to the makeshift camp where they have been living since the earthquake that devastated mountainous areas of Morocco.
Living conditions in Ighermane, a remote douar in the Haut-Altas, have always been rudimentary, but “there was water in the houses.
There we returned to the times of our ancestors,” sighs Mohamed Oublay, 28, after filling the plastic containers which will allow us to wash the utensils and prepare dinner, in the open air.
The Berber village lost three children in the earthquake Friday evening, as well as all its traditional adobe houses, completely destroyed or badly damaged.
Even its brand new mosque, inaugurated barely five months ago, was not spared.
By climbing the mounds of rubble, infested by the smell of putrefaction from the livestock still buried under the rubble, the young man shows the extent of the catastrophe for the 90 families of the town, forced to take refuge below, without running water, no toilets, no electricity.
“I'm going to spend my first night in a tent,” Saida Ouchi almost rejoices, after having slept five nights among the olive trees, in blankets brought by her daughter living in Marrakech, a hundred kilometers away.
“I was told that we might be able to install a small lamp there, connecting it to the only house that still has power,” she adds.
With the mattresses and cushions distributed on Wednesday by charitable organizations, this mother is setting up her new living space, which she shares with her husband, two of her daughters and her three grandchildren.
Even if this rudimentary comfort is enough for her happiness for the moment, she does not hide her anxiety.
“We are afraid for the children, we always wonder where they are and if something is going to happen to them,” she worries, emphasizing that they spend their day strolling outside, school of the village not having been spared by the shock.
Saida Ouchi says she also misses her cooking, now reduced to a few utensils and a wood fire shared with the other women in the village.
Foodstuffs transported by local associations are stored a little further away, under a tarpaulin in full sun.
The Moroccan Ministry of the Interior "provided us with 72 tents, even though there are 90 families of us. We cannot afford to put provisions in them. The priority is to house the women and children," explains Mohamed Oublay.
His friend, Moustapha Chamoun, prays that the authorities will give them help to rebuild the houses, as quickly as possible before the arrival of winter in this region where it can sometimes snow.
“We don't have the means to do it,” says the 25-year-old young man who, like many residents of the village, works small jobs in Casablanca, the economic capital of the kingdom, to meet the needs of his family. his family.
“My parents, like my grandparents, will never want to leave here, and anyway, accommodation elsewhere is overpriced,” he adds.
Saida Ouchi maintains hope despite everything. "Give us some cement and earth and we'll rebuild it ourselves. I just want two rooms and a kitchen. That's all I'm asking for."
14/09/2023 17:55:18 - Ighermane (Morocco) (AFP) - © 2023 AFP