“I always regretted not having been able to cry after the Agadir earthquake in 1960, but since the Marrakech earthquake I have cried a lot. It's not me who's crying, the tears come on their own. I never imagined experiencing this tragedy twice, it’s terrible. I can't regain my strength. It moved me, it completely changed me.
When September 9 arrived, we felt it very strongly in Agadir. We were sitting with my wife and our daughter, and we were tossed to the right, to the left. We couldn't get up. We were like nailed. When it stopped, we ran into the garden, there were lots of people I didn't know. Some neighbors didn't have a veil, I had never seen them without one. I offered to help them get them back, but they said no, that they felt safer in the garden.
The night of the Agadir earthquake, I was 20 years old. After my father died in a work accident, my sister and I lived with our mother. She was an illiterate housekeeper who worked for Europeans and spoke French and Spanish correctly. We were left with state land and a large house, parts of which we rented to get some money. There was no electricity. I was studying by candlelight, because I had been chosen to go to the French high school with a few friends. After the end of the protectorate [in 1956], Moroccans had to take control of electricity management and that was the goal of my studies.
The longest night
That night was the longest of my life. [He cries.] I managed to get my mother and my sister back, but not her two young children. At home, there were eleven deaths. It was terrible. We stayed there for two days in the field, then they took us to Inezgane, on the sand and eucalyptus trees, next to the airport. After a month, we were housed at the Casablanca orphanage.
Everyone was scattered, in Fez and elsewhere, without being able to communicate, there was no telephone. Then I went to high school in Rabat, the capital. With my friends, every Sunday, we went to watch a football match. Prince Moulay Hassan [future Hassan II] was waiting for us to enter the stadium. He didn't go to the official stand, he sat on the ground with us. He gave us a little money, asked us how we were, and comforted us. It cannot be forgotten. [His voice breaks.]
Ultimately, I didn’t work in electricity but in phosphates. I retired in 1991 in Agadir. I then filled my life taking care of a website that I discovered by chance, agadir1960.com, which brings together documents and testimonies around the earthquake. I had thousands of people, but many have since died. And then corona deprived me of a lot of friends. We are like orphans. Come see us, we need to talk. It's a cure. »