En Portada offers exclusive images inside the mines of hell, in Morocco.
“There is no single day I don’t remember the death of my cousins. The mine is the worst of this world”. Abdelrrazak Daoui is 25 years old, but he speaks with the tone of a war survivor. One year ago, this miner from Yareda, in West Morocco, descended towards a clandestine mine shaft in search for coal. He went down with his cousins, but he returned alone. Jodouane and Hussein died drowned 100 meter underground. Their death was the starting point of a bunch of protests that took thousands of miners to the streets in that region. The government put those protest out by dint of arrests.
Months after his episode, our crew has accompanied Abdelrrazak Daoui to show how those miners from Yerada work. The we got an exceptional document: the images inside the mines, filmed by this young Moroccan with a small camera. The bowels of this underground hell get uncovered for the very first time, and show the dramatic working conditions of these miners.
Only during the last years, half a hundred of young men have died in those underground galleries. Trapped by piles of slags with fragile roofs that may crumble anytime, or simply drowned or stifled by bags of water or gas scattered as death traps into those mines. Unemployment is chronic there. Yerada is located in the second poorest region of Morocco, where unemployment rates is over 40%, more than the double in the rest of the country. Beyond unemployment and the lack of future, this youth, buried in life, awaits for another silent drama in the surface, the silicosis. This illness stops their lungs, and it will keep on even though they leave the mine for good.
More than 2,000 young males risk their lives in the more than 4,000 clandestine shafts scattered in the region. The Moroccan government has announced an important investment plan in the region to help the economy in the area. But as for today nothing moves. Youngsters has no alternative and they wake up every day to go down to the mines, to risk it all for a good piece of coal.