San Diego

San Diego man from Morocco shares how he's coping after deadly earthquake

Local religious leader Abdeljalil Mezgouri plans to make a trip to Morocco to lend a helping hand

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The impact of Friday night's powerful earthquake that has killed more than 2,000 people in Morocco is being felt around the world, including here in San Diego.

The pictures and videos of the devastation are hitting home for many, including Moroccan-born Abdeljalil Mezgouri, an imam of the San Diego Islamic Center.

He said he found out about the quake from a phone call.

"Somebody called me and texted me and said, 'Is your family doing OK?' And I said, 'What's going on,'" he recalled.

Mezgouri's brother, on the other hand, felt the quake the moment it happened.

"He was visiting with some of my family members, and he left around 10:45 p.m. to go home," Mezgouri said. "Suddenly, when he was driving, he thought somebody hit him."

Little did his brother know a 6.8-magnitude earthquake hit the area, which sent many people into a panic. Mezgouri says his brother spent the whole night outside, following the shake.

"They were told that you cannot be at home, so people just went in the open and spent the night," he said.

Days later, people are finding out the lasting impact of it all.

Mezgouri says he knows of a woman in Morocco who lost seven people close to her due to the quake.

"When I heard that, I was shocked," he said.

But through it all, Mezgouri says the community near and far is showing solidarity with the people affected by the earthquake.

"People are really there for each other and supporting each other," he said. "That's one of the blessings of the tragedy. It brings people together."

He plans to make a trip to Morocco to lend a helping hand.

"It is the spiritual and the emotional help and going over there to do as much as I can and tell the people over there, 'You are not by yourself,'" Mezgouri said.

At this time, there have been no reports of U.S. citizens killed in the earthquake, but the U.S. Embassy in Rabat, the capital city of Morocco, says a small number of Americans may have been injured.

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