More than 2,900 people have died since a 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck Western Morocco on Sept. 8, a number that is expected to grow as rescue efforts continue. The country’s deadliest earthquake in 60 years injured at least 2,500 and hundreds remain missing.
The town of Amizmiz, located below the Atlas Mountains in the province of Al Haouz, was the epicenter. The small mountain village, more than 55 miles from the historical city of Marrakech, is isolated and difficult for rescuers to reach. Survivors in this and other remote villages have been left without access to shelter, electricity, or telephone service. Moroccans in Marrakech and Amizmiz have been sleeping outside, either because their homes have been destroyed or they fear aftershocks.
The United States, Qatar, France, Algeria, Britain, and Turkey – still recovering from an earthquake earlier this year — have all offered aid.
Morocco’s King Mohammed VI ordered relief commissions to be set up to distribute aid to survivors. But criticism has mounted over how long it is taking to reach those who need it. The government has said it is working quickly.
“From the first seconds this devastating earthquake occurred, and in following the instructions of His Royal Majesty, all civil and military authorities and medical staff, military and civil, have worked on the swift and effective intervention to rescue victims and recover the bodies of the martyrs,” government spokesperson Mustapha Baitas said.
Here are some ways to help
The International Medical Corps is in communication with the World Health Organization and other partners to provide medical and other assistance to Morocco’s earthquake survivors in devastated communities. They’ve deployed an Advance Emergency Medical Team to support urgent relief. For more information on how to donate, visit their website or find them on Facebook and Instagram.
High Atlas Foundation (HAF), founded in 2000, is providing immediate assistance such as food, shelter, and clean drinking water. They are also distributing non-perishable food items and blankets. HAF has years of experience transporting supplies to remote communities in Morocco and plans to provide immediate assistance and long-term support to affected communities. For more information about donations by visiting their website. You can also call (646) 688-2946 or +212 624 596 622 on WhatsApp to make a donation.
The International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) and the Moroccan Red Crescent are providing rescue assistance, first aid, and psychological support to quake victims. IFRC has already released $1.1 million from its disaster emergency fund to help with on-the-ground efforts. You can find information on how to donate via their website.
CARE is an organization that has been working in Morocco since 2008 to help youth and disadvantaged groups in rural areas with access to basic public services. They prioritize women and girls, the elderly, families with young children, and anyone unable to access other emergency services. CARE is collecting donations for immediate support to Morocco’s earthquake survivors. The funds will be used for emergency water, food, shelter, and medical support. You can make a donation by visiting their website or by calling 1-800-422-7385.
World Central Kitchen (WCK), the group founded by celebrity chef José Andrés, is providing ready-to-eat meals, water, and supplies via helicopter with the help of Moroccan volunteers. The helicopters are using their return trips to help evacuate injured victims. You can visit their website for more information about donations or call 202-844-6330.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates more than 300,000 people were affected by the earthquake in Marrakech and the Atlas Mountains region. They are prioritizing displaced children and families and are in contact with authorities to assess long-term assistance. Donations are being used to provide shelter, clean drinking water, medical care, protection, and psychosocial support. You can find more information about donations by visiting their website, or you can make a donation by calling 1-800-367-5437.
GlobalGiving’s Morocco’s Earthquake Relief Fund has raised more than $500,000 to provide shelter, medicine, mental health support, and other essential supplies to address the immediate needs of earthquake victims. GlobalGiving aims to reach $5 million in funding for economic relief and long-term assistance to the region. To learn more about making a donation, visit their website or by calling 1-877-605-2314.
How to avoid charity scams
- Determine whether the organization, nonprofit or group has a proven track record of delivering aid to those in need.
- Identify local initiatives and efforts that are based in the areas most affected by the natural disaster.
- Beware of phone calls and emails soliciting donations.
- Avoid unfamiliar agencies and websites. There is a history of scammers creating websites that look like donation pages after major tragedies.