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The Beacon

The Student Newspaper of MAST Academy, since 1991.
The Student News Site of MAST Academy

The Beacon

The Beacon

Senior Issue 2024
June 5, 2024

Natural disasters strike Northern Africa

More than 3,000 dead after earthquake, flooding.
A view of flooding in Derna, Libya. Photo via NASA Earth Observatory.

On Sept. 8, Morocco fell victim to a magnitude 6.8 earthquake. The earthquake struck southwest of Marrakech, in the Al Haouz province, killing more than 3,000 people. The neighboring nations of Algeria and Portugal felt the earthquake as well.

The earthquake affected the wealthier cities of Morocco, however its epicenter was in the poorer mountain regions. This caused disproportionate damage in these regions which were underprepared for a major earthquake.

Due to the unenforced building standards of the towns around the earthquake’s epicenter, most buildings in this region were constructed from unreinforced brick and masonry. Amizmiz, a town in the mountains about 20 miles from the epicenter, was almost entirely destroyed. Nearly 3,000 residents have lost their lives from the collapsing infrastructure and debris. Tafeghaghte, a small neighboring town, was also reduced to nearly nothing and had a death toll of about 90 residents.

Fortunately, Marrakech has more modern and enforced building standards. There is little to no damage to the infrastructure in the city.

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However, many historic sites that have been protected for centuries have been destroyed, including the Tinmal Mosque, Kutubiyya Mosque, and the Marrakesh Jewish Quarter, leveling them to dust.

The remote towns near the epicenter waited days for emergency aid as boulders and debris landslides made the rescue effort impossible. As Morocco struggles to recover, the government is criticized for its management of the disaster recovery.

Nearly a week after the earthquake in Morocco made headlines, on the night of Sept. 10 and 11, in the aftermath of Storm Daniel, floods battered the northern Libyan town of Derna.

Despite warning by the government, most residents ignored the evacuation attempts as a false alarm and refused to leave, leading to over 3,000 deaths and tens of thousands of injuries.

The floods triggered the collapse of two dams. The second dam, just two kilometers from the city of Derna, released water up to seven meters high. The water demolished the roads and swept neighborhoods out to sea.

According to estimates by the United Nations Satellite Center (UNOSAT), about 30,000 buildings were damaged by the water. The UN International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports about 40,000 people were displaced from the storm, 30,000 of them because of the floods.

The authoritarian government has cracked down on dissidents in the area leading to a worsened effect for the residents. Along with the crackdown, the president turned away a U.N aid convoy with much needed supplies for the residents.

Far from the calamities hitting Northern Africa, one of the many ways to help the situation in Morocco and Libya is through donations. Donations can be made to non-profits and aid groups such as the Global Empowerment Mission, the Red Cross, UNICEF, and the World Relief Organization to make sure the much needed aid reaches the areas affected.

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About the Contributor
Andres Montes de Oca
Andres Montes de Oca, Staff Writer
Andres Montes de Oca is a student journalist for the MAST Academy student paper, The Beacon, based in Virginia Key. Although it is his first year at MAST Academy, Montes is not a stranger to maritime activities, being an freelance surfer for the last four years. “We like to go up to Vero Beach or Sebastian,” Montes said, which is located in Central Florida south of Melbourne. Montes also spends time on a club swim team, where he has been honing his skills to potentially join the MAST swim team. When Montes is not in the water, he spends his time hanging out with his friends at malls such as The Village of Merrick park. Going to Belen Jesuit Preparatory School for middle school, Montes is more than prepared for the academic workload at MAST Academy.
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