Food Aid Stampede Kills 15, Injures at Least 20 in Rural Morocco

Food Aid Stampede Kills 15, Injures at Least 20 in Rural Morocco

Morocco woke up on Sunday to a human tragedy that cost the lives of 15 persons, mostly women, and wounded at least 20 others following a stampede during a food distribution operation in a village near Essaouira.

The victims were crushed as hundreds of people, mostly women, gathered to collect baskets of food at the market of a small town, Sidi Boulaalam, 70 Km from the coastal city of Essaouira, the Interior Ministry said.

The stampede took place when the benefactor started to distribute the food aid at a stall, which became “rapidly submerged” by a crowd of about 800 people, mostly women, witnesses said.

Local media reported that all the fatalities were women aged over 40.

Videos on social media showed scenes of disarray and panic as ambulances rushed to evacuate the injured.

The Interior Ministry said that it launched a probe, while local media say that the donor who organized the food distribution was heard by the Police.

The donor is an Imam in Casablanca with ties to charities in the Gulf. He annually organizes the distribution of flour to poor families in the area.

Following this tragic incident, King Mohammed ordered the local authorities to take all necessary measures to provide support and assistance to the families of the dead and injured, the interior ministry said.

The king also pledged to cover the burial and hospitalization expenses for all of the victims.

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