We’ve arrived in the small village of Tafeghaghte, which is about 20km from Morocco earthquake’s epicenter. What we see is total devastation with a strong smell in the air, possibly from animals and human casualties. Tafeghaghte was the home of over 500 people; now, 80 have tragically passed away. The destruction of this village is a combination of modern construction practices and traditional methods gone wrong.
Damages in the area vary and we can attribute this to many construction practices used by locals. Some buildings were built with concrete while others used traditional methods. We saw a standing structure wall with horizontal flat stones between smaller rocks for some resilience while others used bigger and smoother rocks that lacked any reinforcement and crumbled apart with the quake.
A local mason assured that reconstruction of Tafeghagthe can be possible and affordable. He suggested a technique by adding flat rock slates and a 2-foot-thick layer of cement, much like building with “Legos”. He is confident that employing this method will create stronger, more resilient houses for the village.
Although recovery and rebuilding seem challenging in this area, with 20% of its population gone and evident destruction that might lead to a slow recovery, we must focus on providing shelter to the affected families and restoring Tafeghaghte with local guidance and earthquake-resilient approaches.