Emergency assistance after Morocco hit by worst floods in 30 years

تم النشر: 5 ديسمبر 2002 0:00 CET

The Moroccan Red Crescent has begun distributing food aid and other relief items to victims of last week's heavy rain and floods in the western provinces of Skhirat, Settat, Kenitra and Mohammadia. Some 100 homeless families have already been moved into tents, where they will stay until their houses are rebuilt.

The flash floods, the worst in 30 years, killed at least 63 people in several provinces on the Morocco's Atlantic coast. Most of the victims died when their houses, built of straw and mud bricks in dried-up river beds, were swept away. Another 26 people are still missing. According to authorities, some 100,000 people may have been affected by the floods, which were triggered by heavy rains that began in mid-November.

Some 100 Red Crescent volunteers were immediately mobilized to help evacuate families. They are currently distributing relief items to flood victims, are helping them clean the thick mud out of their homes, and are also providing psychological support to people who have lost relatives. They will also distribute water purification tablets and jerrycans, to ensure people have access to clean water.

To support the Moroccan Red Crescent relief operation, the International Federation immediately released 40,000 Swiss francs (US$27,000) from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund and launched a preliminary appeal of 580,000 Swiss francs (US$394,000) on 28 November.

The funds will be used to provide 5,000 destitute families (some 20,000 people) with food, tents, blankets, warm clothes and candles. The food aid will include wheat, rice, oil and other foodstuffs.

"It is crucial to ensure that all families have enough food," said Badreddine Bensaoud, secretary general of the Moroccan Red Crescent.

"The weather remains very humid and is getting colder everyday, especially at night," explained Federation delegate Michel Paris, who is helping the MRC further assess the situation and identify needs. "I visited several affected villages and people are living in the mud, in absolutely deplorable conditions."

The Red Crescent remains concerned about the weather, since the traditional rainy season in Morocco begins in December and lasts until March. "If the rains arrive, the ground will not be able to absorb them, since it is already waterlogged. This will exacerbate the disaster and increase the distress people are currently experiencing", adds Michel Paris.

Related links:

Morocco: appeals, updates and reports
International Federation: disaster response
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