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  • Writer's pictureImprintEd Abroad

Support Morocco's earthquake recovery: an update from Marrakech

On Friday night a 6.8 earthquake struck 45 miles south of Marrakech. About 2500 people are reported to be dead as of Monday evening. While much of the new city of Marrakech is undamaged, there were casualties and destruction in Marrakech's historic old city. The coming paragraphs detail the conditions on the ground and (at the bottom) how you can support.

On Sunday, I traveled 1 hour and 40 minutes south of Marrakech to Amizmiz, a mountain village that previously opened up their home to students from ImprintEd Abroad, as well as other organizations. In Amizmiz, a colleague and I worked with Latifa (our homestay coordinator and mountain guide) to distribute essential food supplies and water to people who have lost their homes. Many buildings and homes collapsed completely, some are badly damaged and unsafe to reenter, and there are a few newer ones that seem to be in good shape. Everywhere in the region (and as far north as Marrakech) people are scared to sleep in their homes and there have been 3-4 level aftershocks over the last couple of days.

Latifa reported that a handful of her neighbors died when their homes collapsed. A friend she'd known all of her life was trapped when the neighborhood cafe collapsed. By the time crews were able to come through yesterday to remove the debris, her friend had died. We spoke to parents who lost their 16 and 20 year old sons when their home collapsed. The mother was still trying to understand why she'd been spared while 2 of her 3 kids had not; and the father was focusing on community and sharing the supplies we brought with their neighbors.

We only saw only a portion of Amizmiz and there are hundreds of people living in makeshift camps in the olive groves. They are camping out in family and neighbor groups and have begun cooking outside when food is delivered to them. Because Amizmiz is on the main road, there are daily food deliveries.

How to support Moroccan-led relief efforts

Moroccans have mobilized to bring food, water, clothing and other supplies to help support the relief efforts. Due to the scale of this disaster, help beyond Morocco's borders is needed. Morocco needs attention and money now for these initial rescue efforts and continued attention and money for the rebuilding phase. Additionally, please spread the word that Morocco is open to visitors. The northern cities are unharmed and most of Marrakech is open and functioning as usual.

Currently, there's a need for tents, blankets, sleeping bags, tarps and other supplies to help protect people against the elements. We are working on finding a corporate contact to help fly or ship these items into Morocco. Schools interested in supporting this effort could raise money for the above items or collect them to be shipped to Morocco.

For those who want to donate directly, I suggest the Amal Women's Center. The founder is a good friend and I trust this organization to get resources to those in need.

Finally, please keep attention on Morocco in order to help bring awareness to the needs of the areas impacted. Thank you for all of your thoughts, prayers, and attention.

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