Islamic Relief aid workers in Morocco last night began delivering blankets and mattresses to survivors in remote mountainous areas who are still sleeping outside after the devastating earthquake.
Working closely with local partner organisations, the team conducted a distribution in the village of Douar Tedcharte – with more aid distributions planned today.
Assessments carried out by the team found that some villages in the region have been almost completely flattened, with entire families killed and thousands of buildings damaged or destroyed. In villages where homes are still standing, many people are still sleeping outside as they fear aftershocks and their homes collapsing at any moment. The nights in the mountains are bitterly cold.
Many of the worst-hit areas are extremely hard to reach as they’re remote and mountainous locations and the roads are strewn with rocks and debris. The Islamic Relief team met survivors who have walked for many hours to try and find help.
Hana Elabdallaoui, part of Islamic Relief’s team on the ground, says:
“We distributed blankets and mattresses in a village high up in the mountains. The road was difficult so it took time to get there. When we reached the village people were sitting outside in the dark. Even though their homes are still standing, people say they can’t live there because the cracks in the walls are getting bigger every day and they’re scared they will collapse. One woman told me that her clothes are wet when she wakes up, because of the frost.
“In Amizmiz there are still dead bodies under the rubble and the smell of death was really strong. Rescue workers are trying to pull them out. In another village, Tikekht, we found that only six of the 80 people there survived. Every single house was absolutely destroyed. One of the villagers told me they lost 18 relatives and another woman was weeping as she told me that she’d lost all her family. In Tagadirt village we heard of at least 18 people who died. One of them was a pregnant woman who was due to give birth in two days. There was a man who found his relatives dead under the rubble.
“People’s hospitality is inspiring. They have lost almost everything but are still willing to share what little they still have. In the villages people offered us cups of tea. It’s an example for all of us that no matter how hard life is, you can always find a way to be kind to others.
“People urgently need food, tents and hygiene materials. People are also really going to need psychological support. Many people have seen relatives die in front of their eyes, or heard their loved ones screaming and shouting under the rubble. They came up to us and burst into tears – they needed to tell their pain and someone to hear them. This situation has been so painful for them.”
In many villages there is also currently no water because pipes have been damaged. The poorest people are affected most of all, as in the villages their homes are generally made of mud. Many people who were already destitute are now living on the streets.
Islamic Relief has launched an emergency appeal to raise funds to assist survivors. We are partnering with local humanitarian organisations to deliver aid, in coordination with the Moroccan authorities who are leading the overall response.
The earthquake was the biggest to hit Morocco in at least 120 years. More than 2,800 people have now been confirmed killed, with many more injured, and the UN estimates that at least 300,000 people are in need of aid.