Moroccans recall the mayhem that followed a travel ban to and from eight cities

Shortly after Morocco announced a travel ban to and from eight cities, hundreds of travelers had the worst trips trying to go home for Eid al-Adha.

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Moments after the Interior and Health Ministries announced, Sunday, a travel ban to and from eight Moroccan cities, Moroccans wishing to spend Eid al-Adha with their families and loved ones hit the road all at once to reach their destination before midnight.

The news, which was unexpected, pushed many people to act fast before the implementation of the travel ban. As a result, travelers found themselves in the worst traffic jams and in the longest waiting lines. The state of panic and rush was even behind a series of car accidents.

Leaving in hurry

Mohamed, who works in Casablanca, was one of the many Moroccans who decided to hit the road before the start of the ban. Wanting to spend Eid al-Adha with his family in Taza, the man said that the decision fell like a bombshell.

«I was planning to travel on Thursday to Taza to spend the Eid with my wife and parents but I was forced to leave Casablanca in a hurry at around 9pm last night», he recalled.

Mohamed, who drove to Taza, said that the trip was a difficult one. «As soon as I made it to the highway, I was shocked by the traffic jam», he recalled. On his way to Taza, Mohamed said that he «encountered 15 traffic accidents». «Let us not forget about the tens of breakdowns and the cars that were parked by the side of the road», he added.

The trip was long and exhausting for Mohamed, who arrived at 5am to his destination due to the congested road.

On the other side of the country, Salma*, who planned to spend Eid with her husband in Agadir, was also affected by the same decision. «I was in Marrakech when the decision was announced, while I was visiting my parents», Salma told Yabiladi.

Scared of the eventuality of getting stranded in Marrakech, Salma had to act quickly. «I first wanted to take the ONCF coach to Agadir but it was all booked and I had to get an authorization to leave the city», she added.

«I went to the coach station and finally took one that was headed to Tan Tan and that was going to stop in Agadir», Salma said. «Due to the high demand, I had to pay a much higher price. The highway was really crowded and thank God we escaped several traffic accidents», she concluded.

Crowded stations

Yesterday’s mayhem has also impacted travelers who were lucky enough to purchase a train ticket towards their destination. Ghizlane, a babysitter who lives in Casablanca, said that although she managed to get herself a train ticket before the announcement of the ban, her trip to Meknes was not easy.

«I was planning to leave for Meknes to spend Eid with my parents on Tuesday. On Sunday, I started getting messages on WhatsApp about a possible travel ban. I quickly got ready and went to the train station, without thinking twice», she recalled.

Scared and mostly stressed about not being able to travel, Ghizlane rushed to the train station and got herself one of the last remaining tickets. «When I reached Meknes, I realized that the situation was getting worse for others. People were running around and desperately trying to catch the last train», she explained.

The Meknes train station was «besieged by the police who refused to let people in». «People were gathering outside and shouting. They were trying to get inside to book tickets and get the last train but it was already full and sold out by 10 pm», she regretted.

Several other travelers have had it worse last night, while trying to get home for the Eid. Photos and videos shared on social media showed the crowded roads and transportation stations. And while many travelers made it home yesterday, others were left stranded due to the unexpected travel ban.

*The name was changed

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