More than 2,000 people have died after a magnitude 6.8 earthquake shook Morocco on Friday night, making it the biggest quake to impact the country in 120 years.
Some 380,000 people live within 50 km (or about 31 miles) of the earthquake’s epicenter in the High Atlas mountains, which is less than 50 miles southwest of the highly-populated city of Marrakech. Search and rescue efforts are still ongoing throughout the country, and Interior Ministry officials said the death toll is expected to rise.
At least two aftershocks exacerbated the disaster, with the latest being a 3.9 aftershock on Sunday.
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Some residents are still awaiting help, partly because roads have been blocked from reaching more remote areas of the country due to debris. Spain and Israel have sent forward international aid, but additional help from countries like France and Tunisia is stalled because the Moroccan government has not yet requested it, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said Sunday.
President Joe Biden said that the United States is ready to provide help to Morocco when necessary, and is working with officials to ensure American citizens in the country are safe. “I want to express my sadness by the loss of life and devastation caused by the earthquake in Morocco,” Biden said on Sunday during a news conference in Vietnam. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the people in Morocco.”
Here’s some organizations that are helping Morocco:
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
The IFRC sent staff on the ground shortly after the earthquake to help provide first aid, assist with search and rescue, and help local authorities assess the need for aid. They are supporting the Moroccan Red Crescent and are ready to deploy emergency response teams if necessary.
“We are mobilizing now to support the Moroccan Red Crescent,” said Dr. Hossam Elsharkawi, Regional Director of Middle East and North Africa for the IFRC. “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.”
Donations are being accepted here.
Islamic Relief USA
Islamic Relief USA is a nonprofit organization working with local organizations to assist with food, shelter, and healthcare.
Find out more about their work, here.
Global Giving has launched a fund to support relief and recovery efforts and assist with the most immediate needs of survivors. They are using donations to provide shelter and temporary housing, mental health support and support long-term recovery in the country.
They are accepting donations here.
The United Nations Children's Fund is providing emergency support for families that were impacted by the earthquake and is in communication with authorities. You can make a financial contribution here.
CARE, which stands for the Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere, has a base in Morocco near the epicenter of the earthquake, focuses on working with women, girls and other disadvantaged groups to provide aid. “Many already struggled in Morocco prior to the earthquake. Now, hundreds of thousands have lost everything in a matter of seconds,” said Deepmala Mahla, CARE’s Vice President of Humanitarian Affairs.
Consider donating here.
Doctors Without Borders
In collaboration with local authorities, Doctors Without Borders is planning on sending emergency medical and humanitarian teams to Morocco to provide support, despite not having “an established presence” in the country. The organization says its priority will be providing supplies and helping restore health services. You can support their work here.
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