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Words in the News
 
Wednesday 25 February 2004
 
Morocco quake rescue
 
Morocco quake Rescue efforts are continuing in north-eastern Morocco, where there was an earthquake early on Tuesday morning. Buildings were destroyed outside the port city of al-Hoceima and in the nearby mountain area. Around five hundred and sixty people may have died in the earthquake. This report from Pascale Harter:
 
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Day has broken on a desolate scene in the Rif mountain region of Morocco. In al-Hoceima, people spent the night huddled together under makeshift plastic tents. They have either been made homeless by the earthquake or are simply too scared to stay inside, as aftershocks rattle through the city, a terrifying reminder of Tuesday's devastation.

For those in the mountain villages scattered around al-Hoceima, desperation is turning to tragedy. Rescue workers have been unable to get to the worst hit areas where they believe whole families have been buried alive as their homes collapsed. Volunteers have worked through the night, but they are poorly trained and plainly under-equipped, often using their bare hands to clear rubble. They hope that today digging equipment and expertise will reach this inaccessible mountain region.

But with the new day has dawned the knowledge that for the families in the isolated rural villages here help almost certainly comes too late. Already talk has turned from what can be done to rescue survivors from the rubble to what can be done for a homeless population already mourning their dead.

Pascale Harter, BBC, al-Hoceima, Morocco
 
 
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Day has broken
 
When ‘day breaks’ it is dawn; the start of the day
 
desolate
 
A ‘desolate’ place is sad; empty; lacking in comfort
 
huddled together
 
If people ‘huddle together’ they stay close too each other for warmth and comfort
 
makeshift
 
‘Makeshift’ things are temporary and usually of poor quality; often because there is nothing better available.
 
aftershocks
 
smaller earthquakes, which occur after a large earthquake
 
devastation
 
serious and widespread destruction or damage
 
desperation
 
loss of hope; if people feel ‘desperation’ they think that situation is so bad, they will do anything to change it
 
rubble
 
pieces of brick or stone from a destroyed building
 
isolated rural villages
 
villages in the coutryside that are a long way from towns and cities
 
mourning
 
If people are ‘mourning’ they are feeling sad about someone’s death
 
 
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