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Morocco earthquake: Birmingham mother's fear for survival

A mother who was on holiday in Morocco with her family when an earthquake struck said she did not know if they were going to survive.

Shabina Bano, city councillor for Small Heath, Birmingham, was leaving a souk in Marrakesh when Friday's quake hit.

She felt the ground moving and then saw the destruction and damage to buildings including a mosque.

"You just didn't know if you were going to survive this. That's the sense of fear that was inside you," she said.

The quaked killed more than 2,000 people, injured thousands more and rescuers have been using their bare hands to dig for survivors.

Ms Bano had gone with her partner, their children and her brother to the city to shop on Friday.

They were about to leave when she said she "got a feeling of dizziness" as they moved into the open space market.

"Before you could even think, the floor underneath you shook and you just couldn't comprehend what's going on," she said.

"You just heard screaming, shouting, crying and people were just pushing and that's when it struck you that there's something happening."

A woman surveys the damage to a building in Marrakesh, reduced almost entirely to rubble
A woman surveys the damage to a building in Marrakesh, after the powerful earthquake struck overnight on Friday

The family huddled together as they saw dust and smoke in the air and decided to leave and make for their car.

On the way she said they saw the destruction, the damage of restaurants, walls collapsed and cracks in the walls.

The family saw a stream of cars leaving the city and Ms Bano said they spent six hours driving to Essaouira where they were staying, a journey which would normally take a lot less time.

People slept outside for the next two nights due to fears of being inside a building in case of more tremors, she said.

The family moved inside on Sunday but kept waking up as they were so scared of it happening again.

"Those flashbacks keep coming back to you and it truly is a scary feeling," she said.

Destruction in Marrakesh
The family saw the damage and destruction in Marrakesh as they left in their car

The group have since flown home but Ms Bano said she felt for the residents of Morocco as "the destruction, the history that has been destroyed here is so heartbreaking".

Meanwhile, seven members of staff from West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) were among about 60 with the UK's international search and rescue team who have landed in Morocco.

The group were supporting rescue efforts and WMFS's chief fire officer, Wayne Brown, said the service would give them "all possible support during this deployment".

Shreen Mahmood
Shreen Mahmood went to Marrakesh to help with the aid efforts

Shreen Mahmood, from Birmingham, went to Marrakesh to help coordinate aid efforts with the International Learning Movement UK charity and said the group "hit the ground running".

"We've got to do as best we can, especially when disaster strikes. There are innocent families which have lost so much, so we don't have time to think about anything else," she said.

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