Victoria Media – Further Edition

Morocco earthquake: 1,300 dead and injured at least another 1,800, many of them critically, the interior ministry said on Saturday

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Morocco declares three days of mourning for victims of earthquake – IFRC and Moroccan Red Crescent response to date – Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams mobilize to assess needs

“HM King Mohammed VI, may God assist Him, accompanied by HRH Crown Prince Moulay El Hassan, chaired, on Saturday afternoon, September 9, 2023, in the Royal Palace in Rabat, a working session dedicated to examining the situation following the earthquake that occurred Friday, September 8, and caused human and material losses in various regions of the kingdom.

In this regard, the officials present briefed HM King Mohammed VI, may God assist Him, on the latest developments in the affected prefectures and provinces, notably in some localities that were inaccessible during the evening and where the situation point and relief intervention were not possible until sunrise.

During this session, the officials present informed the High Royal Attention of the measures taken to quickly address this large-scale natural catastrophe.

These emergency measures, subject to instructions and constant follow-up by HM King Mohammed VI, may God assist Him, since the first moments that followed the earthquake and witnessed the intervention of the Royal Armed Forces, local authorities, security services and Civil Protection units, as well as the ministries concerned, focused notably on:

– Reinforcing the national blood stock

– Suppling drinking water to affected areas

– Distributing food kits, tents and blankets to the affected population

– Quickly resuming public services

In this regard, it should be recalled that upon the High Instructions of HM King Mohammed VI, Supreme Commander and Chief of General Staff of the Royal Armed Forces (FAR), the Royal Armed Forces urgently deployed significant human and logistical air and land resources, as well as specialized intervention modules based on search and rescue teams and a medical-surgical field hospital. In this regard, HM King Mohammed VI has given His Very High Instructions to expeditiously continue field relief efforts, as well as:

– Immediately set up an inter-ministerial commission in charge of carrying out an emergency rehabilitation and aid program to reconstruct as soon as possible the destroyed homes in the affected areas.

– Provide care to people in distress, notably orphans and vulnerable people.

– Provide immediate care to all people who found themselves without shelter following the earthquake, notably in terms of housing, food and other basic needs.

– Encourage economic operators for a quick resumption of activities in the areas concerned

– Open a special bank account at Treasury and Bank Al Maghrib to receive the voluntary solidarity contributions of citizens as well as private and public instructions.

– Ensure the full mobilization of the Mohammed V Foundation for Solidarity, with all its components, to support citizens in affected areas

– Create reserves and stocks of basic necessities (medicines, tents, beds, food…etc.) in every region of the Kingdom to prepare for any type of disaster. It was also decided to observe three days of national mourning, with the half-masting of national flags on all public facilities.

His Majesty the King, Commander of the Faithful, also gave His High Instructions to the minister of Endowments and Islamic Affairs to perform the Absent Prayer (Salat Al Ghaib) in all mosques throughout the Kingdom, for the repose of the victims’ souls.

The Sovereign also expressed the sincere thanks of the kingdom of Morocco to all brotherly and friendly countries that expressed their solidarity with the Moroccan people on this situation, and many of which expressed their readiness to provide aid in these special circumstances.

This working meeting was attended by Government Head, Aziz Akhannouch, Interior Minister, Abdelouafi Laftit,, Health and Social Protection Minister, Khalid Ait Taleb, as well as Lieutenant General Mohamed Berrid, Inspector General of FAR and Commander of the Southern Zone, Lieutenant General Mohamed Haramou, Commander of the Royal Gendarmerie, Brigadier General Mohamed Elabbar, Inspector of FAR Military Health Service, Brigadier General Mohamed Elabbar, Lieutenant Colonel Ihssane Lotfi, General Director of Civil Protection, Abdellatif Hammouchi, General Director of National Security, Director General of National Territory Surveillance, Mohamed El Azami, coordinator and member of the Mohammed V Foundation for Solidarity’s Board.

IFRC and Moroccan Red Crescent response to date

A 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck central Morocco on Friday, September 8, killing at least 800 people, injuring more than 300 people and causing widespread devastation.

Moroccan Red Crescent (MRCS) teams were on the ground immediately, coordinating closely with the IFRC and local authorities to assess the situation, support in the search and rescue operation and provide help to affected people. They are providing first aid, psychosocial support and helping transport the injured to hospitals.

Some of the worst affected areas are quite remote and mountainous, therefore hard to reach. However, the IFRC is working hard to support the national Moroccan Red Crescent Society to assess the situation and is ready to deploy its emergency response teams within 24-48 hours based on the needs.

Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies from Africa, MENA and Europe have also reached out to provide assistance.

Dr. Hossam Elsharkawi, Regional Director of Middle East and North Africa for the IFRC said:

“We are mobilizing now to support the Moroccan Red Crescent. This will not be a week or two of response as our region has seen with the big Türkiye and Syrian earthquake earlier this year. Again we are looking at many months if not years of response.”

Caroline Holt, Global Director of Operations for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said: “The next 24 to 48 hours will be critical in terms of saving lives. Search and rescue efforts will be prioritised in parallel, of course, with making sure that those that we know have survived are taken care of.

“We know what to expect.  There’s the need for the dignified management of dead bodies. There’s the need to provide people with safe water. We need to make sure we don’t have a disaster within a disaster. Hygiene really needs to be maintained.”

MSF does not have an established presence in the country but is making contacts with local authorities

“We are saddened by the tragic news of the earthquake in Morocco and the growing number of reported victims. MSF does not have an established presence in the country but is making contacts with local authorities, in order to send our emergency medical and humanitarian teams to assess needs and provide support if needed.

“Local people are the key to the initial response, when searching for survivors is vital. Earthquake survivors often require medical care such as surgery or dialysis, which can be a challenge when local health systems are affected by a disaster. Restoring health services and providing essential supplies also can be a priority at this stage. Our response will depend on the needs that are assessed on site.”


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