I’m in the Morocco Earthquake

The noise comes first. A knocking and then just sound all around. The house starts to shake.  I know immediately without even thinking. Earthquake. 

I leap out of bed. The cats flee under it. All the safety lights in the compound go out. The walls of the house are flexing. It is like the square is trying to become a parallelogram. 

I run for the door. It is locked. I manage to turn the key, and run out. 

I want to be outside. Our yard is tilting and groaning. I can hear shouts and screams. One is my own. I am alone in the dark on the moving ground. 

The trembling stops. 

My neighbours start to come up and down and out We are about 25 people with the youngest being 2 and the oldest 100. 

My house faces out onto the valley and the others are built into the mountain. They are solid and if they fall it would be catastrophic. 

We cluster in the middle of the yard. I go back in to the house to find torches and a power bank and to put shoes on. I bring out shoes and shawls for anyone who needs them. My house is in the middle and the most accessible. But stupidly I don’t grab warm clothes for myself. 

Everyone is crying and frightened. When we are all gathered we head down to the main road and the car park. 

‘Safe arrival. Thanks be to God.’ Prayers of gratitude as we stumble down the steep slope. 

Then it is a rush for signal as everyone checks in. We find the quake was in Asni and Marrakech too. 

All the lower part of the village is now in the car park. Mules and cows have been brought over from the hamlet facing us. 

We hope there are no casualties and no losses. 

We are too scared to go back in case of after shocks. Dawn is 5 hours away. The signal dies. 

The night is wearing on slowly. We are arranged in extended family groups in the car park. The men are standing on the opposite side and we women and children have colonised the low wall to sit on, or against. 

Groups of men go and bring back water and blankets. A cow is lowing anxiously.  Me, Aicha and Hasna are sharing a blanket.  

The night becomes very cold. I’m only wearing a thin nightdress and a short sleeved jumper. I’m freezing. All the women and children are now in one big huddle for warmth. Someone sees my bare legs and immediately pulls a scrap of blanket over them. 

Later three of us take refuge in my Toyota Yaris and I put a shopping bag over my head and another on my legs to keep warm. I doze. 

It’s 6 o’clock and dawn is breaking. We move back up as a community. 

There are huge cracks in the yard. Back in the house, the floor is littered with stuff that’s fallen off shelves. 

The cats just want breakfast as normal. I need to warm up and try to sleep but will keep warm clothes, my shoes and head torch on.  Just in case. So far, we’ve been lucky but news is coming in of deaths else where. Horrible. The road is closed. For now, we are here. 

PS. Just cycled to get signal. It’s apocalyptic

Please donate here. These guys will get money to the right places https://www.gofundme.com/f/british-moroccan-society-earthquake-appeal

Here is my podcast on the earthquake and immediate aftermath. It was recorded on Sunday 10th September 2023

Apple https://podcasts.apple.com/no/podcast/alice-in-wanderland/id1484063831

Spotify https://open.spotify.com/episode/3KuuwLAzv4KaZYJHlaESK3

Googleplay https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9mZWVkcy5zaW1wbGVjYXN0LmNvbS83THlxc053Vg/episode/OTI2NjVjOGEtMGM1OC00NDYwLTg4MzItYzczMThkYzQ3YmNm?sa=X&ved=0CAUQkfYCahcKEwi4sqO08KmBAxUAAAAAHQAAAAAQAQ

113 comments on “I’m in the Morocco Earthquake

  1. Rebecca on

    Thanks be to God you’re OK, been waiting since 2am to see you back online. Its catastrophic Alice, all those small villages badly affected, over 1000 now lost their lives. So many homes and businesses too. Sending hugs xx

  2. Carolyn Smith on

    My sister Eleanor Moudiotis her husband Chris and children Emily 23 and Sam 19 are in Imlil having done a trek on Friday. They are both doctors. I cannot get in contact with them and am hoping they are ok and helping the injured. Can you help? Please?

  3. Jennifer Brown on

    Thank you Alice, for this update, which must have very challenging to write, emotionally and technically. I’m so sorry to hear of this devastation and hope against hope that the damage is not worse than can be grappled with.

  4. Francisca Denyer on

    After visiting Morocco for a second time, last year, and falling in love with it all over again, I encouraged some friends to go. They were staying n the centre of Marrakech last night and we’ve only just heard they are safe. I was thinking of you too as I follow your posts having loved your books. Terrifying experience for you all. Stay safe.

  5. Mike Bennett on

    Praise be you and your fellow peoples are all safe. Must have beers terrifying! Will be thinking of you in the coming days and nights. Stay safe is an old cliche, but it is meant!

    • Trish Sutherland on

      It was a relief to see Alice safe and unharmed! As a follower of her treks & lifestyle in the beautiful Atlas Mountains, it’s devastatingly sad to see and hear of the massive loss & damage that has been bestowed upon Morocco, bless her for her report on tv .. stay safe Alice my felt love & healing .

  6. Salima on

    Sending my love from the Netherlands. Please share what kind of international support is needed. I hear blankets, medicine….is that so?

  7. Marilynne Gardiner on

    It’s good you and your village seem to be safe. Earthquakes are truly terrible. I hope the damage to your homes is repairable. Thinking of you all

  8. Jeannie Lewis on

    Oh goodness – thank heavens you are safe, and will be sending many warm and strengthening thoughts in the days ahead

  9. Mark Colvin on

    Alice, So glad that you’re safe! You are strong and the life you have lead will help you and others in this stressful time. Stay safe and strong. We all greave for those who have been lost.
    Please let us know how to help.

  10. Gilly Nickols on

    Alice it sounds absolutely terrifying. My thoughts are with you but also with all the families who may have lost loved ones. We are hearing of over 800 dead. Just awful. Please take care xxx

  11. Heidi on

    Alice, I only know you through your books, films, Twitter (X) and podcast but when I saw your post about the earthquake I was so concerned for you & your neighbors. Stay safe. Best wishes from New Mexico, USA.

  12. Sean on

    Hi, thank you for sharing what the situation is near Imlil. My sister-in-law is an American who was heading out on a multi-day hiking trip in the Atlas Mountains and from what we have been able to piece together, in terms of her itinerary, she was likely staying in Imlil when the earthquake happened. We haven’t been able to reach her and are very concerned. Her name is Lucy. If you have any information that might point us in the right direction, please let me know.


  13. Bukky on

    Praise be to Hod that you and your community are safe , but so horrible to hear about the tragedy in other places . Praying for everyone

  14. Caroline Pearce on

    The parents of the U.K. Guide group that were in Imlil last month on a community project are wondering how to help. Villagers welcomed our daughters into their homes and gave them breakfast.

  15. Carmel on

    Hello Im trying to reach two friends of mine probably were in Imllil today both are Israelis can you please mail me back if you did?

  16. kathleen somogyi on


  17. Lisa Simeone on

    Concern and best wishes from Baltimore.
    We were just in Morocco, including Marrakech and the High Atlas, this past May. We made several friends there with whom we are still in touch. All of them, thank god, are safe, though the ones in Tinghir now have demolished houses.
    I’ve been following your Instagram and blog for a while and greatly enjoyed one of your books a few weeks ago, so I immediately thought of you this morning. So glad you’re safe. But I’m so sorry. I realize that words are inadequate.

  18. Maud Trad Sayyeda on

    Drar Alice, I am so glad that you and the people in your village survive this horrible night. The earthquake will have terrible consequensed for Morocco. I have visited Imlil and Marrakech several times. Now it will take time to build up those parts of the country again.

  19. Val Allen on

    I have loved reading your books. It brought morocco alive after I visited in April. I wish I could help. My thoughts are with the delightful and kind people that we met in the short time we were in Sidi Badhaj. So sad.

  20. Christine South on

    Thank God you are all ok! We just saw the news and were worried what had happened to you. Stay safe my dear and yes stay alert for the after shocks. Thinking of you and sending warm, warm love. Christine and Mike

    • Sharon McMurtrey on

      Alice, So grateful to have found this site and to know you and those in your village are alive. Thank you for posting. Warm thoughts and love continually being sent to all.

  21. Lynn Fraser Baugh on

    Alice just watching BBC New and the number of losses so far are horrendous. So glad you and your community are all safe and looking out for each other. Your blog is an amazing eye opener of what an earthquake is really like.
    Take care, keep things you need close by… Keep safe. x

  22. Tina Luton - Australia on

    Thank you for sharing. It’s heartbreaking, so much devastation and loss of life. Be safe. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Morocco xx

  23. Jody on

    You give us a vivid depiction, I’m deeply moved by your experience Alice. Really important to know what you and your community went through. You are brave souls. x

  24. Caron on

    I’m so sad that this has happened to Morocco, to the people of the Atlas, Marrakech and around. I am glad you’re ok and thank you for reporting. I pray for the people affected.

  25. Katrina Gerada Morgan on

    Alice, thank you for sharing. I’ve visited Imlil and our immediate thoughts are with the wonderful people we met there. I hope you stay safe. Thinking of you

  26. Lisa Carroll on

    Sending love and prayers to you, and all affected.

    If there is a gofundme set up for Imlil please share. We stayed at the Atlas Riad and are praying they are all safe

  27. Lynne Lamont on

    Are hearts are with you all. We were with your friends in Imlil & the mountains only 2 weeks ago. Sending all our love & strength from Scotland xxx

  28. Tina Smart on

    God bless Alice, I was meant to do the Intrepid walking holiday at exactly this time, but have postponed to next year due to flights being too expensive. Thinking of everyone in Morocco.

  29. Stephanie Laslett on

    Alice, thank you so much for this vivid account of your experience. We have friends who live in the nearby village of Aguersioual, a Berber family who we met whilst walking when they welcomed us into their home to join their wedding party in 2006. Such joyful, open, generous people. I am sorry to ask you when you are dealing with so much yourself but if you had any news of that village I would be so, so grateful. Sending love and strength to all of you In this very special part of the world.

  30. Claire on

    A huge tragedy ..Is there anything we can do here in the UK that will support the Imlil community directly.
    I am seeing adverts for Aid donations which we can all donate to , but feeling that I would like to support the Imlil Community directly to in some way give something back for the hospitality and love given each time I have visited.
    Keep safe x

  31. Claire Probert on

    Sending prayers. Spent a very happy few days in imlil climbing mt. Toukbal and enjoying the village hospitality. Like another reader would love any aid I give to go directly to imlil.

  32. Lynne mccaddden on

    Glad to hear you and your neighbours are safe Alice Your words bring the frightening horror of it all to us all sat here in the safety of our own homes Take care in the coming days

  33. Rebecca Albrow on

    Really glad to hear you and your neighbours are safe Alice. You live in such a beautiful part of the world, which we were privileged to visit last year. We had a wonderful trip to the mountains, made to feel so welcome, with a fantastic trip to Amzil. I hope our tour guide Hassan is OK. Such devastating news. Our thoughts are with you all. ❤️

  34. Ophelia on

    Hi there,
    We are looking for our freinds in imlil and was wondering if you have come across them? We think we can’t get hold of them because of the signal issues. But I was wondering if you have had any contact from the Moudiotis family. Our friend Emily is there with her mum, dad and brother Sam. If you have any information please email me: 123phiphi@gmail.com

  35. Pete Ryan on

    Are you in Imlil? Is everybody safe there? We bring a group of students every year to Dar Imlil. Hoping all our friends are safe and well. Keep safe x

  36. Gillian Scott on

    Thank God your all safe. Truly wish there was something we could do . Thank you for your post. I thought of you as soon as I heard the news xx

  37. Stacy Brown on

    I pray for the beautiful family my wife and I had tea with in Asni not more than 3 weeks ago. So kind and gracious. Our hearts go out to them and all who are suffering. Morocco is such a beautiful country and I hope they recover quickly, knowing it will take years.

  38. Susie Kaylor on

    If there is something we in the US can do to help your village (Imlil) directly please let us know. It sounds like you need helicopters to drop supplies (food, water, blankets, medicine) into the village area until roads can be repaired. It goes without say that an abundance of prayers are coming your way.

  39. Coco on

    Encourage people to donate to the Red Crescent. At least with them we can be sure the money is used wisely.

    Don’t trust the Makhzen.

  40. Alastair on

    Can you mention of your site that the Red Crescent is taking donations? I’m sure people want to help and the Red Crescent is pretty good at delivery.

  41. Louise Southgate on

    Thank the Lord you are ok. Visited Morocco earlier in the year and have been reading your books. My first thoughts were for you and your dear friends. Praying they are all ok. Thinking of you.

  42. Stephanie Laslett on

    Hello again Alice. Just wondering if you have any news of Aguersioual village just near Imlil. I left a message 0855 on Sept 10th. Thank you so much for this great job you are doing keeping people updated

  43. Susie Kaylor on

    It is difficult to understand why the Moroccan leaders are reluctant to allow helpers out to the mountain villages, especially when water, food, toilet facilities, medicine are so badly needed (as I understand it from the news). In this day and age, helicopters can either drop in supplies or LAND and pick up injured and off-load supplies. I have listened to a variety of news sources and tried to piece together just where the apparent disconnect is happening. If, in one of your blogs or podcasts, you are able to shed some light on that issue, I’d be grateful. For example, there are food kitchens now set up by World Central Kitchen—can that food be ported out to mountain villages. So concerned about that part of Morocco that has been severely damaged.

  44. Jay Funnell on

    Hi Alice. Thank you so much for your update on the current conditions in Imlil.
    We were there in August this year and visited seeing the waterfall with Hamed Amzil.
    I have been in contact with him and aware they are living in tents outside of their house. Our thoughts are with all the families there.


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Adventures in Morocco

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