First came the news, then shock and then a scream. In the small town of Amizmiz in southern Morocco on Sunday, a woman let out a piercing cry as she absorbed the information that her two brothers had been killed in the devastating earthquake.
More than 2,000 people were killed in the quake that hit Morocco on Friday night, according to the authorities. Hardest hit was the province of Al Haouz, which is home to Amizmiz, where a small crowd was growing to comfort the crying woman.
Lacher Anflouss, 37, the woman’s nephew, said that his aunt had grown up with her brothers in a village higher on the nearby Atlas Mountains. She had moved away when she married, but her brothers had stayed.
In the quake’s immediate aftermath cellphone service was down, making it difficult for people to get immediate news of loved ones, Mr. Anflouss said. Once his aunt heard what had happened to her brothers, he said, she had attempted to get as close as possible to their town.
“A lot of people are reacting quietly at first because they still haven’t processed it,” said Mr. Anflouss, adding, in an explanation of her scream: “And then when they finally process it…”
His aunt, whom he did not name, was led away from a small crowd that had gathered by another woman who put her arm around her and rubbed her back. Talk in the crowd turned to a rumor that another house in Amizmiz had just collapsed, and the possibility of more victims.
Ambulances and tents lined the roads of the town, which stands at the base of the mountains. Some residents had spent the night in yellow tents provided by firefighters, while rested behind makeshift shelters of colorful fabric and plastic tarps held down by rocks. Emergency responders also had brought food and blankets, residents said.