Morocco has announced a comprehensive post-earthquake reconstruction plan, allocating a staggering 120 billion dirhams ($11.7 billion) to rebuild and rehabilitate the affected areas over the next five years.
This initiative comes in response to a devastating 6.8 magnitude earthquake that struck on September 8, claiming over 2,900 lives, predominantly in the High Atlas mountains.
The reconstruction plan, as unveiled by the royal palace, aims to benefit the 4.2 million individuals residing in the worst-hit provinces of Al Haouz, Chichaoua, Taroudant, Marrakesh, Ouarzazate, and Azizlal. The announcement followed a meeting between King Mohammed VI, government officials, and representatives from the armed forces.
The primary focus of the plan is to facilitate the rehabilitation of housing and the improvement of infrastructure in a manner that promotes social and economic development in the earthquake-affected regions. The royal palace stated that the funding for this ambitious venture will be derived from the national government’s budget, international aid, and a dedicated fund specifically established in response to the earthquake. So far, this fund has received approximately $700 million in donations.
Additionally, the reconstruction plan involves the establishment of vital reserves in each region, ensuring the availability of essential resources such as tents, blankets, beds, medicines, and food supplies to effectively respond to future natural disasters. These provisions aim to alleviate the hardships faced by the affected communities and prevent further suffering in the wake of such catastrophic events.
Notably, the regions impacted by the devastating earthquake are among the poorest in Morocco, with numerous remote villages lacking adequate infrastructure and public services. This reconstruction initiative seeks to address these existing disparities and uplift these marginalized communities by providing them with the necessary resources for growth and development.
As part of the relief efforts, the Moroccan government recently announced that 50,000 houses have been confirmed to be damaged. Authorities have pledged to provide shelter for affected households, coupled with financial aid amounting to 30,000 dirhams ($3,000). These measures aim to offer immediate support to those whose lives have been upended by the earthquake, ensuring their well-being and enabling them to rebuild their lives.
Additionally, the Moroccan government has committed to providing 140,000 dirhams for the reconstruction of collapsed homes and 80,000 dirhams for damaged ones. However, there has been criticism directed at Moroccan authorities for accepting only limited foreign aid while rescue efforts struggle to reach the severely affected remote regions.
Despite numerous offers from governments around the world, only search-and-rescue teams from the United Kingdom, Qatar, Spain, and the United Arab Emirates have been allowed to operate on the ground as authorized by Moroccan authorities.
In these situations, it is typically the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) that manages international responses through its agencies Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) and International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG).
These UN agencies are capable of deploying within a notice period of 12-48 hours upon request from both the affected government and the UN resident or humanitarian coordinator in the country. Their typical deployment duration ranges between two to four weeks.
However, it is important to note that as of now, no request for assistance has been made by the Moroccan government.