On September 8, 2023, a massive earthquake struck Morocco, leading to the death of close to three thousand people and thousands more injured. Fondation de France launched an appeal for donations, with the result that more than 10 million euros was raised. The outpouring of solidarity helped support local nonprofits, providing emergency relief to victims.
In the first few weeks following the disaster, emergency assistance was deployed straight away in the many areas affected. Nonprofits on the ground, such as Migrations & Développement – a Fondation de France partner, are backed by a significant network of local village associations. The latter have distributed food, mattresses, covers, toiletries, healthcare items, as well as communal tanks for lasting access to drinking water.
Shelter for disaster-affected populations and support for rebuilding
The onus is now on emergency aid during the winter period. “Most victims have shelter thanks to tents and containers. However, when the snow comes, these solutions will remain temporary. Which is why we’re busy working with architects and engineers and finding solutions to reinforce and hold up houses that are not too badly affected. That way, inhabitants can go back to their homes safely,” explains Karine Meaux, head of emergency aid at Fondation de France. Jood , a nonprofit very involved in housing issues, has installed 30 prefab houses and 30 sanitary facilities, each with a shower, basin and toilet, in the villages of Moulay Brahim, Talat N’Yaaqoub, Imgdal and Ljoukak.
“Concerning rebuilding and rehabilitation, partnerships are currently being finalized to provide technical construction expertise, taking risk into account, and consolidating the skills of Moroccan builders,” adds Karine Meaux. In particular, Fondation de France draws on the work of CRAterre , an international center of earth construction, with specific expertise on reconstruction following a natural disaster.
Support for the most vulnerable
The most vulnerable people receive specific attention. For example, the association de l’Enfance Handicapée (a nonprofit for disabled children) in the Taroudant region assists severely wounded and disabled casualties of the earthquake. It does so by providing medical supplies and meeting the need for rehabilitation and readaptation, with professionals from the nonprofit managing their care.
In addition to vitally needed practical help, offering psychological support is important, so that latent post-traumatic symptoms can be avoided or treated. This is a mission that Terra Psy undertakes thanks to mobile teams making their way from village to village, to provide psychological support to those with psycho-traumatic disorders, as well as where to find guidance.
For its part, nonprofit Nissae Souss welcomes women and their children in accommodation centers and offers clothes, meals, toiletries, drugs, school supplies, and psychological support. Elkhir , a nonprofit for women, has set up a mobile call center and also provides psychological support, as well as help with legal and administrative matters. In addition, this project encourages the creation of farming and craft cooperatives that generate income (agricultural work, sewing, etc.) to help earthquake victims recover economic independence.
Contributing to economic recovery
Contributing to economic recovery is very much a priority for Fondation de France for things to get back to normal gradually. There are shops and agricultural infrastructure that need to be rebuilt for instance. AgriSud supports people with low income to implement initiatives such as fair, viable and environmental projects.
The Béatrice Schoenberg Foundation has committed to a project for the reconstruction of a boarding school for young girls. School supplies and financial assistance has already arrived, enabling families who were caught up in the disaster to send their children to the schools and boarding schools that can still be used. The earthquake claimed more than 500 schools so nonprofit Al Jisr is fitting out nine modular units to replace the classrooms destroyed in the province of Chichaoua, so that children in this badly hit area can go back to school.
In the Taroudant province, which was struck by the earthquake, a consortium of six Moroccan and French organizations led by Migrations & Développement are working together with local players to rebuild healthcare and education facilities, and boost the recovery of devastated areas, especially by supporting local agriculture.
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