Hospital leader survives Moroccan earthquake

Meghan Huffman, senior director of digital health at Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Novant Health, survived the Sept. 8 Moroccan earthquake that has killed at least 2,500 people, the Charlotte Observer reported.

Ms. Huffman was sleeping in her hotel in the city of Marrakech late that day when her room started shaking, according to the Sept. 10 story.

"I started to panic, as I was still a bit asleep and never experienced an earthquake before," Ms. Huffman told the newspaper. "I initially thought the hotel was under attack — sirens were going off, the shaking went on for several minutes, but felt like hours."

The 6.8-magnitude earthquake is the strongest to hit that area in more than a century and has killed an estimated 2,497 people, The New York Times reported Sept. 11. Its epicenter was about 30 miles southwest of Marrakech.

As buildings around her collapsed, Ms. Huffman, who has traveled to 77 countries, went to the pool area, where people fought over cushions to sleep on, she told the Observer. She quickly notified her family that she was safe. She fell asleep near the pool around 4 a.m.

When she woke up around 8 a.m., "Life is going on as if we didn't just experience an earthquake and people weren't/aren't dying," she recalled to the newspaper Sept. 9. "I think I'm most shocked that the streets and hotel were all full of terror in Marrakech less than 12 hours ago and now, it's as if things are just 'normal.'"

By Sept. 11, she was back home. "I'm fortunate to have been in a safe hotel and caught a flight home yesterday," she said in an email to Becker's. "My heart is heavy for those rural communities and others who weren't so lucky."

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