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Utah leader with family in Morocco shares horrors following devastating earthquake

Posted at 5:14 PM, Sep 11, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — Rescuers have continued their search for survivors following the devastating 6.8 magnitude earthquake in Morocco.

WATCH: Utah man describes experience living through Morocco earthquake

The disaster hit home for local business owner and Salt Lake City School Board member Mohamed Baayd, whose family was in Morocco when the earthquake struck.
Baayd is a Moroccan native who came to the U.S. in 1999. He says despite being six hours from the epicenter near Marrakesh, his parents felt the rumbling. An aunt of Baayd's lives near Ouarzazate, which was just 120 miles from the center of the disaster.

"Which is like one of the hard-hit areas and that, area she is explaining to me, like her house and her neighbors's houses are like all cracked inside and outside, so they are not safe to live in," said Baayd. "They have neighbors whose houses have been completely demolished."

Baayd owns Zahara, a small, local Moroccan pop-up restaurant which will be participating in this weekend's 9th and 9th street festival. They'll be selling Moroccan cookies and serving tea, with 50 percent of the proceeds going toward helping those who have been impacted by the earthquake.

He's hoping that will help repair homes that are damaged, or even help provide shelter to those who need it following the the weekend events.

So far, the death toll has reached 2,862, although outlying regions near the epicenter have yet to be reached. The Utah National Guard is in Morocco and ready to help in wake of earthquake.