On Friday 8 September at 11.11pm, as people were sleeping in their homes, a 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck Morocco. The epicentre of the quake was in the High Atlas Mountains, about 70 kilometres south of Marrakesh.
More than 3,000 people have died, many more have been critically injured and over 300,000 people have been directly affected. Many of the hardest hit areas are remote and mountainous, and the destruction of roads and bridges has made accessing those communities incredibly challenging.
People behind the numbers
Said’s house was one of 43 that collapsed in the small mountainous village of Tamaloukt, tragically killing two of his three children: his 11-year-old daughter Asma and five-year-old son, Ibrahim. Moroccan Red Crescent, with the help of Qatar Red Cresent, is providing Said and his family with psychosocial support to help them cope with this enormous loss. Photo: Benoit Carpentier/IFRC
Nezha and her children live in Amizmiz in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains. They were all sleeping when the earthquake struck, destroying their home. Thankfully, they were all able to escape. They are now living in tents alongside others who have lost their homes. Moroccan Red Crescent is supporting the local authorities in delivering essential goods and providing psychosocial support. Photo: Benoit Carpentier/IFRC
Local teams are leading a swift and targeted response
In Tamaloukt, more than 2,000 houses were either totally destroyed or severely damaged. Moroccan Red Crescent, with the support of Qatar Red Crescent, has distributed tents, mattresses, blankets and kitchen kits. Photo: Benoit Carpentier/IFRC
Moroccan Red Crescent delivered truckloads of tents, blankets, mattresses, clothes and food to the remote village of Tajgalt in the High Atlas Mountains. It was the first delivery of assistance to the village. Photo: Benoit Carpentier/IFRC
Hundreds of Moroccan Red Crescent volunteers have mobilised to respond to this disaster. In the severely impacted province of Al Haouz, an estimated 83,000 people have been affected by the earthquake. In this province alone, over 500 Moroccan Red Crescent volunteers have been deployed to provide people with shelter, food, medicine, and psychosocial support.
Further afield, medical caravans organised by Moroccan Red Crescent teams are visiting the most remote villages, providing medical and psychosocial support.
Across the board, Moroccan Red Crescent teams are working tirelessly to ensure that people who have lost their homes are provided with tents, mattresses, pillows, and blankets before winter rains and colder temperatures set in.
How is Australian Red Cross helping?
Following the earthquake, we submitted a proposal with the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to support the Moroccan Red Crescent response. We have secured $500,000 which will be sent through the IFRC Emergency Appeal to support the local response. Specifically, the funding will support the distribution of relief items, foods and cash assistance as well as work focused on protection and restoring family links.
As always, we stand ready to support Moroccan Red Crescent with the deployment of technical specialists from our delegate register.
Looking after yourself
We know that Moroccan communities here in Australia will be experiencing distress as they continue to see and hear reports of these disasters.
To support people in the wake of distressing events, we have put together information and advice on ways to cope. This information is available in a range of languages, including Arabic, and we encourage you to share it with your friends, family, and networks.