Morocco’s patches up earthquake wounds, braces for reconstruction

Moroccan authorities and army are racing the clock to offer decent temporary shelters to the earthquake-hit population in the Atlas mountains, defying the difficult terrain and vast affected area.

The 7 magnitude tremor hit a week ago killing around 3000 people and destroying many traditionally-built villages in the provinces of Al Haouz, Taroudant, Chichaoua and Ouarzazat. Its impact was felt as far as Casablanca and Rabat.

The disaster left whole villages in rubble and damaged thousands of homes pushing their residents to seek shelter in tents offered by authorities.

King Mohammed VI has given instructions since the immediate aftermath of the earthquake to take care of the affected population ensuring that their temporary shelters are rain and snow proof.

He also ordered taking care of the quake-orphaned children and gave them status of “adoptees of the nation” and ordered that immediate aid be chanelled to all affected villages and people.

The King has visited a hospital in a gesture of solidarity checking on patients and offering blood.

So far, some 50,000 homes have been affected by the earthquake and the King ordered an aid of 3000 dollars to every household in the quake-hit area as well as a reconstruction aid of 14,000 dollars for totally collapsed houses and 8000 for partially damaged ones.

In Amizmiz, two large camps have been set up as a temporary shelter for earthquake victims including an army camp with a capacity of some 3000 people, equipped with its own kitchen, toilets and a school.

In Asni and Taroudant, military hospitals were set up treating earthquake patients. The field hospitals offer surgeries and have a psychological support ward.

As the army mobilized all means from helicopters to airlift aid and evacuate the injured to donkeys and mules to channel aid to hard to reach areas where landslides blocked roads.

Images of long convoys of spontaneous citizen efforts impressed the local and international public opinion. From across Morocco, convoys of trucks and cars loaded with all sort of aid from foodstuff to blankets and clothes sent a message of unity in distress and solidarity.

An earthquake response fund to help the victims has already gathered more than 500 million dollars, less than one week after its launch as donations continue to flow from ordinary citizens, public institutions, and private firms.

Morocco’s King also thanked foreign rescue teams from the UAE, Qatar, the UK and Spain for their contribution in the immediate earthquake aftermath.

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