Morocco has never refused aid from Western and European countries, but is ready to begin reconstruction work immediately. This was confirmed to AGEEI by government sources in the Mediterranean country, which was hit by a 6.8 magnitude earthquake on 8 September, causing widespread damage and thousands of victims.
In the days that followed, despite the country's dire situation, news spread that it had rejected material and human resources offered by several countries, accepting only those provided by Spain, the United Kingdom, the Emirates and Qatar.
This news was strongly denied by diplomatic sources. In fact, Morocco suffered the destruction of the roads linking it to the interior areas hit hard by the quake. This has led to serious logistical problems that risk paralysing the aid offered by so many countries. As explained to AGEEI, the roads must be repaired as a matter of urgency, an operation that is also being carried out by the Moroccan army: only then will it be possible to organise a "massive" system of aid, including from the countries that the government has asked to wait for now.
Italy, which in recent years has developed an increasingly close relationship with the North African country, also has men and resources ready to send - some organisations are already operational on the ground - and is waiting for the green light. This approach is in line with international disaster management standards. It is a pragmatic approach that focuses on the efficiency of interventions in order to avoid coordination problems.
However, some people, as the Moroccan ambassador to Italy, Youssef Balla, recently pointed out, have an interest in discrediting the network of relations that Morocco has established with various partners, including Italy itself, to the extent of "distorting reality, falsifying the narrative and creating false controversies".
Morocco launched a massive reconstruction plan yesterday at a meeting chaired by King Mohammed VI.
The programme includes the construction of
- 50,000 earthquake-damaged housing units in the five affected provinces. These will be temporary shelters, adapted on site and in facilities with all the necessary comforts.
- The government will provide emergency assistance of USD 300 per month to affected families.
- Direct financial assistance of around 14,000 euros for completely collapsed houses and around 8,000 euros to cover rehabilitation work on partially collapsed houses.
Particular attention was paid to the resumption of school and educational activities in the affected areas, following the damage to some 500 schools. Several proposals were adopted, including the installation of mobile schools in the provinces affected by the earthquake. These are structures placed on special lorries to allow mobility and presence between the different areas.
With regard to orphaned children, it was decided to grant them national protection status and for the government to activate an adoption law.
The multidimensional programme will mainly mobilise the financial resources of the State and public bodies, but will also be open to the contribution of private and associative actors and countries wishing to do so, to whom the King of Morocco reiterated his country's sincere thanks.