After the Moroccan earthquake, I had to choose between saving my parents and my son.
When his parents were buried under debris following the earthquake that struck Morocco, Tayeb ait Ighenbaz was left with no choice but to save either his 11-year-old kid or his parents.
The goat herder from a small settlement in the Atlas Mountains claims that the choice he had to make still haunts him.
On Friday night, the worst earthquake to hit the nation in 60 years shook Tayeb’s little stone home where he was spending time with his wife, two children, and parents.
He takes me to the wreckage of his former house.
He gestures toward the debris, pointing to where you can still make out some of the interior of the building, and says, “That’s where they were.”
“Everything occurred so fast. We all rushed to the door as soon as the earthquake struck. I yelled at my mother to come when my dad was sleeping, but she stayed behind to wait for me, he says.
He could only see his wife and daughter on the other side.
Tayeb discovered his son and his parents trapped beneath debris as he made his way back into the collapsed structure. His son’s hand was visible piercing the debris.
He hurried to his son Adam, feverishly sifting through the debris to free him, knowing he had to act soon.
He claims that it was already too late when he turned to see his parents, who were hidden beneath a sizable stone.
He cries as he explains, “I had to choose between my parents and son.”
“The wall fell over half of my parents’ body, so I was unable to assist them. It’s really sad. I witnessed my parents’ demise.
Tayeb says that the stains on his light-colored jeans are made of his parents’ blood as he points down at them.
Since the earthquake, he hasn’t been able to change because all of his clothes are in his home.
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The family is currently sharing a temporary tent with relatives not far from their former residence. According to Tayeb, all of his money was in the house, and the majority of his goats were slaughtered.
“It’s like starting again in a new life. Without parents, a home, food, or clothing, he claims. “I’m starting over at 50,” the speaker said.
He can’t even begin to consider how to proceed, but he keeps in mind the lessons his parents instilled in him. “They always said, ‘Be patient, work hard, and never give up’.”
As we continue to speak, Adam, his kid, comes up wearing a Juventus football jersey with Ronaldo’s name on the back and encircles his father.
He grinned up at him and said, “My dad saved me from death.
Another father and kid stand with their arms around each other just a little distance down the road, heading towards the town of Amizmiz.
According to Abdulmajid ait Jaefer, when the earthquake hit, “the floor fell through” while he was at home with his wife and three kids.
Mohamed, his 12-year-old son, managed to escape the structure, but the rest of the family was left behind.
Abdulmajid claims he was dragged out by a neighbor when his legs became trapped under the debris. Then he attempted to save his wife and one of his daughters for the next two hours. When he dragged them from the rubble, both were already dead.
His other daughter’s body was also retrieved from the wreckage the next day.
47-year-old Abdulmajid is currently dozing off across the street from his home under a tarpaulin.
The fridge is still standing in the kitchen, and there are clothes hanging outside to dry.
According to him, he is unable to go because he must “stand guard” over his belongings and the memories of his time spent there.
“That is my refrigerator and kitchen. All of us were there. I’m just staring at it right now,” he admits.
Abdulmajid claims that before to Friday, he had “never even fantasized about an earthquake. I still find it hard to believe that.
Cars stop next to us as we converse, and others lean out to express their condolences. Others who are out for a stroll pause to give the grieving father and husband hugs.