“I let my parents die to save my son”: these are the tragic stories left by the earthquake in Morocco | The USA Print

"I let my parents die to save my son": these are the tragic stories left by the earthquake in Morocco | The USA Print

Tayeb ait Ighenbaz was forced to choose between saving his 11-year-old son or his parents when they were trapped under rubble following the devastating earthquake in Morocco last Friday.

The goat herder from a small community in the Atlas Mountains says he is tormented by the decision he had to make.

Tayeb was with his wife, 2 children and parents on Friday night in their small stone house when it was shaken. for him biggest earthquake that the country has suffered in 60 years.

I accompany Tayeb to his old house that is now in ruins.

You can still partially see the interior of the construction. He points to the rubble as he tells me, “That’s where they were.”

“Everything happened very fast. When the earthquake happened, we all ran to the door. “My father was sleeping and I yelled at my mother to come out, but she stayed to wait for him,” she says.

On the other side, he could only see his wife and daughter.

When he returned to the collapsed house, Tayeb found his son and parents trapped in the rubble. Her son’s hand was peeking out of the rubble.

He knew he had to act quickly, and he headed towards where his son Adam was, and began desperately digging to get him out.

When he went to look for his parents, trapped under a large stone slab, he says it was too late.

“I had to choose between my parents and my son”he says with tears in his eyes.

“I couldn’t help my parents because a wall fell on their bodies. It is very sad. “I saw how my parents died.”.

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Tayeb points out the stains on his pants, and tells me it’s his parents’ blood. All of her clothes are inside her house. She has not been able to change her clothes since the earthquake occurred.

The family now lives with relatives in makeshift tents near their old house. Tayeb says that all his money is in the house, and that most of his goats have died.

“Is like being born again in a new life. No parents, no home, no food, no clothes. I am 50 years old and I have to start again,” she says.

He can’t now think of how to continue, but he remembers the lessons his parents taught him.

“They always told me ‘be patient, work hard, never give up’.”

As we talk, his son Adam comes up dressed in a Juventus soccer club shirt with Ronaldo’s name on the back, and hugs his father.

“My dad saved me from death,” he says, smiling.

“There were 5 of us in my family. Now we are 2”

What remains of Abdulmajid ait Jaefer’s family home. (Photo: GETTY)

A few meters away, on the way to the city of Amizmiz, another son hugs his father.

Abdulmajid ait Jaefer says he was at home with his wife and 3 children when the earthquake started and “the floor fell in.”

His son Mohamed, 12, left the building, but the rest of the family was trapped.

Abdulmajid says his legs were trapped under the rubble, but a neighbor helped him out.

He then spent 2 hours trying to rescue his wife and one of his daughters.

They were both dead when managed to get them out of the rubble.

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The next day, the lifeless body of another of his daughters was rescued.

Abdulmajid, 47, now sleeps under an awning in front of what remains of his house.

He can see the kitchen, with the refrigerator still standing and clothes hanging to dry.

He says he can’t leave the area because needs to “stand guard” to protect his possessions, and the memory of his life there.

“That’s my kitchen and my refrigerator. We were all there. Now I can only look over there,” she says.

Before Friday, Abdulmajid says he never, ever thought about an earthquake. “Even now, I can’t believe it“.

While we are talking, a car stops near us and a group of people get out to offer their condolences. Others walking down the street stop to give the father and husband a hug.

“There were 5 of us in my family. Now there are 2 of us,” she tells me sadly.

“At the moment, I can only think about one thing: my son.”

Additional reporting: Wahid El Moutanna.

Keep reading:

* Earthquake in Morocco: What made it so devastating
* Earthquake in Morocco: Why is it not possible to predict when an earthquake will occur?
* The “miracle” baby who was born minutes before the Moroccan earthquake and who now lives in a tent

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