Two architects assessed the damage in one of Morocco’s major cities, Marrakech, following this month’s earthquake, reports Africa News, September 18.
A 6.8 earthquake struck the North African country, causing the deaths of around 2,900 people and inflicting a further 5,600 injuries. The quake’s epicentre was roughly 70 km away from Marrakech.
The pair toured the city’s historic medina on September 14, 5 days after the earthquake, to examine the extent of the demolitions to ancient buildings.
The historic site’s buildings were first built by the Almoravid dynasty.
The Almoravid was an imperial Berber Muslim dynasty, who established an empire in the mid 11th century, centering the territory of large parts of the western Maghreb, commencing in the 1050s until its demise to the Almohads in 1147.
The Berbers are a diverse grouping of ethnic groups that to this day have a significant population in Morocco.
One of the architects, Jawad El-Basur, offered an explanation as to why some buildings couldn’t withstand the harsh quake.
He said, “It was a devastating earthquake. It’s completely normal for the medina to be affected for a number of reasons. The first reason is the dilapidated state of the structure, but also the nature of its composition.”.
Many of the buildings were not on equal footing as well as being built of mud brick. The architect notes that this makes them more vulnerable, particularly in the event of torrential weather.
El-Basur added, “The rain and the aftershocks (can negatively affect) the survival of these buildings. Even though we’ve experienced a drought over the last three years, (we hope) that this time there will be a delay in the rain. Because if the rain comes soon, it won’t be a good thing for the work we have started here.”.