By John Ikani
In a display of solidarity with his nation in the wake of a devastating earthquake, King Mohammed VI of Morocco made an unexpected visit to a hospital near the quake’s epicenter.
The monarch, known for his rare public appearances, took time to personally check on injured individuals and even rolled up his sleeve to donate blood.
King Mohammed VI visited the Marrakech hospital named after him, where he inquired about the well-being of those affected by the earthquake, which struck on a Friday night. The official MAP news agency reported that he showed deep concern for the recovery services and care being provided to the survivors.
In the heartwarming moment captured on video, the king was seen by the bedside of several patients, including a young boy whom he affectionately kissed on the head. He also spent time with an elderly patient, showing his genuine care for those suffering.
The bespectacled monarch sat in a chair, in a surprising and humble gesture, removed his coat, revealed his suspenders, and rolled up his shirt sleeve to donate blood. This act of donating blood has become a national symbol of unity, with Moroccans across cities, including Marrakech, lining up to contribute to the recovery efforts for the injured.
The earthquake, originating in the Atlas Mountains, tragically claimed the lives of over 2,900 people, with the majority of casualties occurring in mountainous towns and villages. Additionally, more than 2,000 individuals sustained injuries. As of Tuesday, over 240 of the injured were receiving treatment in hospitals within the Marrakech region.
The earthquake also caused damage to portions of the historic walls that encircle Marrakech’s ancient city, a UNESCO World Heritage site dating back to the 12th century. Videos circulated online depicted dust emanating from the renowned Koutoubia Mosque, one of Marrakech’s historic landmarks. The city is also home to one of the royal palaces belonging to the monarch.