Humanitarian and development organisation Islamic Relief has stepped in to aid Morocco after a powerful 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck the North African country late last Friday, leaving behind a trail of destruction and despair.
The death toll currently stands at over 2,901 people, with the number expected to rise as rescue and recovery operations continue.
Islamic Relief does not have a base in Morocco but quickly mobilised its teams from neighbouring countries to provide assistance.
On September 10, these teams arrived in Marrakesh, where they encountered scores of people sleeping on the streets, too fearful to return to their damaged homes due to continuing aftershocks.
Islamic Relief programmes team member Hana el Abdallaoui gave a harrowing first-hand account of the devastation.
“Unfortunately, we found an area where, out of the 80 people who lived in the village, only six survived. These are shocking numbers, and it just shows the magnitude of the damage. Every single house was absolutely destroyed,” el Abdallaoui said.
“We met some locals who explained [the extent of] their loss. One of them lost 18 relatives. Another lady told us that she has no one now – she lost all her family. [In one of the villages] we visited, where 70 families live, 18 people died, [including] a pregnant lady who was supposed to give birth in the next few days. We spoke to a man who [found his family passed away, under the rubble].”
The Islamic Relief teams have been working around the clock, distributing blankets and mattresses to the displaced areas.
They also conducted rapid needs assessments in the hardest-hit areas, such as Adassil in the Chichaoua Province.
Islamic Relief’s South African office is appealing to the public for support in their initial relief efforts in the region.
Donations will go to providing essentials like food, clean water, shelter, and psychosocial support during this time of urgent need.
Local humanitarian aid Gift of the Givers said their search and rescue and medical teams were also on standby to respond to Morocco.