Rabat - Over five decades ago, amid the holy rituals of Ramadan, on February 29, 1960, just before 11:40 pm, the citizens of Agadir had no idea of the horrific disaster that would soon impact their lives and their country’s history forever.
Rabat – Over five decades ago, amid the holy rituals of Ramadan, on February 29, 1960, just before 11:40 pm, the citizens of Agadir had no idea of the horrific disaster that would soon impact their lives and their country’s history forever.
An earthquake measuring 5.7 on the Richter scale struck the city that night, taking the lives of nearly a third of the city’s population. Approximately 15,000 were killed, 25,000 were injured, and 35,000 became homeless in a mere 15 seconds.
The earthquake is regarded as the most devastating natural disaster in Moroccan history thus far. The catastrophe was caused by the volcanic tectonic fault in the South Atlas, the mountain range that extends from the Figuig region in the southeast to the Canary Islands through Agadir.
The 15-second cataclysm was swelled by several horizontal and vertical waves caused by a seismic span of nearly 4 kilometers. The entire area surrounding Agadir was afflicted due to fragile infrastructure.
The shadow of the tragic event still haunts Moroccans, who recall the horrific times the kingdom went through every anniversary that left so many of them homeless, orphaned and physically disabled.
In 2014, on the 54th anniversary of the earthquake, the daily Arabic newspaper Al Massae reported that several Moroccans who suffered from severe psychological shock after the disaster traveled outside the kingdom to receive special medical treatment.
Al Massae added that the earthquake was an opportunity for others to search for precious properties beneath the ruins, while many Moroccans still mourned the victims. In addition, several people profited from the tragedy by investing in large-scale businesses at the expense of others’ properties.
That same year, the daily Arabic newspaper, Al Akhbar, covered the story of a poor Moroccan carrier who became wealthy after the tragic event.
In Berber, the word “Agadir” is used to describe a wall-enclosing fortress or town. Agadir still remains one of the largest tourist hubs in the kingdom and among the preferred destination for tourists in the world. Last year, around 888,848 tourists visited the city, according to the city’s Regional Tourist Council (CRT).