Rescue teams dig for quake survivors, bodies in Morocco mountain villages

Rescue teams stepped up on Wednesday a massive effort in devastated Moroccan mountain villages as chances faded for finding survivors from last week's earthquake which killed nearly 3,000 people and left many homeless.

Vehicles packed with supplies were inching up winding mountain roads to deliver desperately needed food and tents to survivors of the nation's strongest quake on record and deadliest in more than six decades.

Smaller quakes are still rattling the disaster zone and one sent stones falling in the village of Imi N'Tala, where a person was injured following the jolt, AFP journalists saw.

Search teams were still scouring the rubble for the living. Morocco is now well past the 72-hour window when rescues are considered most likely, yet survivors are in some cases found well beyond that period.

"We're working in a lot of places," said Fahas Abdullah Al Dosanri of the Qatari fire department, part of the international aid effort, adding some villages still cannot be reached by road.

Moroccan authorities reported that crews were working to clear unpaved tracks that have been cut off by landslides.

In the hardest-hit areas south of Marrakesh many villages in the High Atlas mountains were completely destroyed and locals were taking shelter in yellow government-issued tents.

"We just have the food donations, and we have some blankets, but no housing," said 18-yead-old survivor Afrah Fouzia in the tiny mountain village of Tikht, which was so heavily damaged that it is now only rubble.


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