Red Cross appeals for over $100 mn to help quake-hit Morocco

AFP , Tuesday 12 Sep 2023

The Red Cross appealed Tuesday for more than $100 million to provide desperately needed assistance in Morocco, days after a powerful earthquake killed more than 2,800 people.

Morocco earthquake
A child plays next to relief tents near a military field hospital in the village of Asni near Moulay Brahim in al-Haouz province in the High Atlas mountains of central Morocco on September 11, 2023. AFP


"We are seeking 100 million Swiss francs ($112 million) to be able to deliver on the most pressing needs at this time, which include health, water, sanitation and hygiene, shelter relief items and basic needs," Caroline Holt, global director of operations at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, told reporters in Geneva.

Rescuers supported by foreign teams scrambled in a race against time to find those still alive after villages in the Atlas mountains were devastated by the 6.8-magnitude disaster that struck over the weekend.

It was the deadliest quake to hit the North African country since a 1960 earthquake destroyed Agadir, killing thousands.

The epicentre of Friday's late-night tremor was in Al-Haouz province southwest of the tourist hub of Marrakesh. Most of the victims died in Al-Haouz, authorities reported.

Overall, at least 2,862 people died and more than 2,500 were injured in the tragedy, according to an official toll late Monday.

Moroccan rescuers backed by teams from Spain, Britain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are now up against the clock.

"The big difficulty is in zones remote and difficult to access, like here, but the injured are choppered out," Annika Coll, who heads the Spanish team, told AFP in the disaster-stricken community of Talat Nyacoub.

About 70 kilometres (40 miles) north, another Spanish team from the Military Emergencies Unit (UME) had set up camp since late Sunday on the edge of Amizmiz village.

Albert Vasquez, the Spanish unit's communications officer, warned Monday that "it's very difficult to find people alive after three days" but "hope is still there".

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