More than 600 volunteers mobilised as heavy floods hit Moroccan cities, kill dozens

Publicado: 2 diciembre 2014 15:09 CET

By Soraya Dali-Balta, IFRC

The winter season has hit Morocco this year with full force as heavy rains and floods invaded numerous southern cities and towns, causing numerous deaths and leading to a severe damage in the country’s infrastructure.

At least 40 people have reportedly been killed in the floods so far, while more than 200 have been rescued. Others, meanwhile, remain missing as search and rescue teams have been dispatched to look for them in hard to reach areas. The unprecedented downpour also gravely harmed the country’s agricultural sector, destroyed tens of buildings and led to the collapse of bridges, in addition to completely isolating several neighbourhoods.

As soon as the crisis hit the northern African country, Moroccan Red Crescent teams were ready to provide relief and rescue services to affected families and individuals through the organisation’s local committees and through maintaining close contact with the central headquarters. Six hundred volunteers were mobilised and 50 local intervention teams were formed to respond to the emerging needs, as the organisation’s warehouses were opened for the distribution of relief items such as blankets, mattresses, and hygiene kits aimed to 1,100 families.

The National Society has also been collaborating with health, civil and military bodies to coordinate in relief services and in the delivery of food and non-food items, and in the provision of first-aid, transport and psycho-social support.

“Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Malika, the chairperson of the organisation, has requested the mobilisation of all available resources to respond to the needs of people who were most affected by the floods in several parts of the country,” the Moroccan Red Crescent Society said in a released statement.

The first relief operations took place in the provinces of Ouarazate and Tinghir where 700 families were targeted. The Moroccan Red Crescent has also put under its disposal its basic preparedness stock, which is part of its contingency plan, to provide 2,100 families with basic urgent needs.

Meanwhile, the National Society’s volunteers got involved in providing medical services and organising health awareness and prevention campaigns in cooperation with several medical bodies. First aid posts were also set up to provide basic health services.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has been closely following up on the situation in Morocco, and has mobilised its operations teams to provide the necessary support for the Moroccan Red Crescent. The Federation has also allocated a Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of 245,000 Swiss francs to procure and distribute food and non-food items to refill the basic stocks of the Moroccan National Society, and to provide essential services including first aid and psycho-social support.

This year’s unprecedented downpour surpassed 200 millimetres and led to the rise of water levels in rivers and in the flooding of valleys, an unfamiliar phenomenon which the country has not witnessed since the 1980s.