SA NGOs offer disaster and humanitarian aid, as Morocco handles earthquake recovery

Emergency workers carry a dead body, in the aftermath of a deadly earthquake, in Amizmiz, Morocco, September 10, 2023. REUTERS/Nacho Doce

Emergency workers carry a dead body, in the aftermath of a deadly earthquake, in Amizmiz, Morocco, September 10, 2023. REUTERS/Nacho Doce

Published Sep 11, 2023

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Cape Town - Gift of the Givers (GOTG) said the organisation’s search, rescue and medical teams are on standby should the Moroccan Government express the need for its assistance.

A 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck the Marrakech-Safi region on Friday night. More than 2 000 people are reportedly dead, however, this number is expected to rise as search and rescue operations remain under way.

Morocco’s Interior Ministry reported that 2 012 people have died. More than 2 000 people have also been injured.

GOTG founder Dr Imtiaz Sooliman said its teams were put on standby from the first hour of the earthquake but could only respond if a call was made for international assistance by the Moroccan government.

“All gratitude to the people of Morocco, who with their bare hands are taking out survivors and the deceased, going into the rubble helping neighbours, family, communities and also coming to the hospitals to provide blood.

“The armed forces are providing tents, bottled water, medical support, and once again, if the call is made for international assistance, our teams are on standby to fully back them up.”

Sooliman said they were in contact with the South African Embassy in Morocco, awaiting any such requests.

Some of the deceased have been buried in mass graves, with rescuers struggling to reach those in remote towns in the High Atlas mountains.

Survivors spent the night sleeping in the open air for fear of aftershocks and considering the now unstable infrastructure.

While expressing condolences over the earthquake, the National Freedom Party (NFP) leader in Parliament, Ahmed Munzoor Shaik Emam, called on the AU and its member states to show support through “humanitarian aid, resources, and expertise to help Morocco recover and rebuild”.

Morocco became a permanent member of the continental bloc in January 2017.

On behalf of President Cyril Ramaphosa, the government and the country, Deputy President Paul Mashatile too expressed condolences.

“We are deeply saddened by the shocking loss of life and extend our deepest sympathies to the people of Morocco. We wish all survivors strength and a speedy recovery.”

On Saturday, Morocco’s King Mohammed VI declared three days of national mourning for those who had lost their lives as a result of the earthquake.

Spain has reportedly sent 56 rescuers and four search dogs, after receiving a formal request from Morocco, and Tunisia has reportedly mobilised a team of 56 persons with a field hospital.

Muslim Hands SA said the organisation’s teams in Morocco were currently on the ground and it has appealed to the public to donate towards their interventions.

Fundraising manager Ashraf Kenny said members from its France office were in Morocco at the time the earthquake hit.

“This allowed us to immediately start the assessment of the needs on the ground,” Kenny said.

The organisation has appealed to the public to donate to: Account Name: Muslim Hands; Account Number: 071621881; Branch Code: 031110; Account Type: Current Account.

Proof of payment can be emailed to [email protected]

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