Morocco EarthquakeOn Friday, September 8, 2023, Morocco experienced a seismic event that would challenge the nation’s resilience and compassion. The Morocco earthquake caused significant damage to homes, infrastructure and communities and tragically claimed 3,000 lives. In response to this disaster, stories of compassion and solidarity emerged as individuals and organizations rallied to aid those affected.

The Earthquake’s Impact

With its epicenter in the remote region of the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, the Morrocco earthquake measured a magnitude of 6.8, resulting in widespread devastation. Immediate challenges included search and rescue operations, medical assistance and the provision of essential supplies to affected regions.

A Swift and Effective Response

IFRC, the world’s largest humanitarian network, was among the first responders. The Moroccan branch of the organization, the Moroccan Red Crescent, rapidly deployed teams to affected areas. Their comprehensive efforts included distributing food, water and medical supplies and establishing temporary shelters for displaced families. 

The IFRC’s response to the Morocco Earthquake was so rapid that just four days after the earthquake on September 12, the organization launched an emergency appeal for 100 million Swiss francs (about $109 million) to support relief efforts in the country. The rapid response from both local and international organizations has been truly remarkable. 

Benoit Carpentier, a spokesperson for the IFRC, said: “The Moroccan Red Crescent’s local knowledge is invaluable. They are our guiding force, making sure that our response is as effective as possible. We must continue to mobilize support for the weeks and months ahead to ensure that no community, no individual, is left behind.”

Community Resilience

Within the Moroccan earthquake-affected communities, individuals demonstrated remarkable solidarity. Neighbors quickly formed bonds in their shared adversity, pooling resources, offering shelter to those who had lost their homes, and extending helping hands wherever necessary. These acts of kindness highlighted the strength of unity during challenging times and underscored the unwavering support of the Moroccan people.

International Aid and Solidarity

Beyond Morocco’s borders, the nation received support from several countries worldwide. Foreign governments, non-governmental organizations and individuals joined hands to provide financial aid, medical supplies and disaster relief expertise. Morocco accepted international aid from four countries: the U.K., Spain, Qatar and the UAE. These four nations collaborated to provide cutting-edge search technology, such as seismic listening devices and concrete-breaking equipment, to assist in rescuing those trapped under buildings.

Survivors’ Stories 

Stories of survival and resilience emerged amid the wreckage and despair of the Morocco earthquake. One such story is that of Nezha, a heavily pregnant woman who found herself going into labor just ten days after the earthquake struck. She gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby boy, Anas, in a makeshift medical tent in the middle of the street. Despite the limited medical supplies, Nezha’s smile shone brightly, and the birth of Anas offered a ray of hope to the affected community. 

The 2023 Morocco Earthquake posed significant challenges to the nation. However, it also showcased Moroccan society’s remarkable capacity for compassion, unity and solidarity. The stories of individuals and organizations extending a helping hand to those affected by the earthquake underscore the resolute human spirit and the power of collective action in times of adversity.

– Genevieve Martin
Photo: Pixabay

Humanitarian Aid to Morocco Contributes to Counterterrorism Efforts
As the U.S. continues to send humanitarian aid to Morocco, the Moroccan government works to protect its country from terrorist threats.

“Morocco has a comprehensive counterterrorism strategy that includes vigilant security measures, regional and international cooperation, and counter-radicalization policies,” the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Counterterrorism reported online. A 2013 report revealed several steps Morocco has taken that have successfully led to the dismantling of terroristic plots.

A founding member of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), Morocco also participates in the U.S. Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) program. These preventative efforts and partnership with the U.S. and the U.N. have contributed to the country’s leading role in the fight against terrorism in the Middle East.

“Morocco is number one in its national security, but that’s not the main reason for the safety of our country,” Zakaria Hamzaoui, Moroccan citizen and political advocate, said. “We take great steps to improve the quality of life for all people, especially young people, so that people are satisfied with their freedom.”

Indeed, providing hope and opportunities for the most marginalized population reduces a community’s rates of conversion to extremism. Because a population’s youth remains the most likely demographic to cause unrest, targeting this group through youth programs effectively redirects energy and attention to more positive outlets.

According to the U.S. Department of State’s website, a 2016 study showed that U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) programs have helped to directly improve the lives of more than 12,000 marginalized, at-risk youth since 2012. These programs include a career development system that increases employability and various civil development initiatives that address the roots of unrest.

USAID has also provided humanitarian aid to Morocco in the form of police training, border security, military funding, women’s empowerment and business development.

These initiatives are not limited to U.S.-funded aid; Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have also contributed humanitarian aid to Morocco in the form of a five-year agreement. This deal, totaling $5 billion in aid, will expire at the end of 2017, and its benefactors intend its use for counterterrorism and economy-building through the promotion of new infrastructure and increased tourism.

By combatting the sources of unrest that lead to the growth of extremist ideologies, Morocco and supporting countries have committed to taking preventative actions that help build the country and strengthen its national security. As a result of these efforts, Morocco remains at the forefront of the counterterrorism fight in the Middle East.

– Francesca Colella

Photo: Flickr