Former University of Iowa teacher on Morocco earthquake: ‘Everyone is in grief here’

Following the devastating earthquake in Morocco, efforts to help isolated areas are continuing.
Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 5:46 AM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Adil El Megaless was hundreds of miles away from the epicenter of the earthquake in Morocco on Sept. 8, but he still felt it.

He said he and his family in Kenitra heard “a sound in the ground...a big, big sound.”

El Megaless taught Arabic at the University of Iowa in 2017-18 when he was a Fulbright scholar. Now, he teaches in his home country, which is currently mourning the deaths of close to 3,000 people who were killed by the natural disaster.

“Everyone is in grief here,” said El Megaless.

“One of the things that really made me cry is I saw a Moroccan TV presenter,” El Megaless said. “He said, ‘I am in front of the school. None of the students are here because all of them died.’”

El Megaless said he’s part of an organization which has been sending aid to the region most impacted. He said right at the very beginning they sent food, but now they’re hearing the urgent need is tents because of the number of people who have been made homeless.

On top of the death toll and the many people who have been left with nothing but the clothes they are wearing, parts of the country’s cultural heritage have been destroyed, like a 12th century mosque.

“I was looking [at the news of the mosque] earlier, and it’s made me cry, actually,” said El Megaless.

However, El Megaless said he is heartened by the way his country is responding to the grief.

“The Moroccans this time actually showed that they are one hand,” he said.