Volunteers distribute warm clothes and first aid kits across the most affected areas.
Published on: 09-22-2023
The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in Spain is moving to assist many of the survivors of the recent earthquake that devastated Morocco and caused more than 2,900 deaths, with at least 5,600 injured. According to the World Health Organization, more than 300,000 people have been affected.
ADRA Spain director Olga Calonge reported that a team of the humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church arrived in Morocco on September 12. From there it will send reports and act with the support of the agency’s emergency humanitarian network. “ADRA Spain is responding to the emergency and will lead other ADRA branches in this relief initiative,” Calonge said. “We will be very active and involved.”
The most urgent needs, according to local authorities, are emergency shelter, sanitation, water supplies, and medical care, ADRA reported. The agency recently prepared and distributed the first thousand humanitarian aid kits to people affected by the earthquake in the Atlas Mountains region in Morocco.
“Twelve ADRA volunteers visited some communities that had not yet received any help,” Calonge reported. “They checked the number of families affected and their priority needs at this time. Then, the group went to Marrakech to buy everything they needed. Unfortunately, it is increasingly difficult to find some products because the markets are emptying.”
In the Atlas Mountains region, temperatures go down significantly at night, and families are suffering from the cold. The emergency kits distributed by ADRA included socks, hygienic wipes, sanitary pads for women, soap, night lights (as many are sleeping in the open), and blankets.
“The biggest difficulty now is getting tents for those people, but ADRA is moving to get them,” Calonge said. “We also contacted several local organizations which help us distribute warm clothes to many survivors.”
The 6.8-magnitude earthquake hit the region on Friday, September 8, after 11:00 p.m. near Marrakech. The quake was so strong that it was also felt in Fez, some 500 kilometers (300 miles) away, where ADRA’s Camp de Morvedre (a branch of ADRA Spain) has carried out several humanitarian actions. According to government officials, it is one of the deadliest earthquakes to hit the country in more than 120 years.
Rescue team operators and the Moroccan Armed Forces continue searching for survivors among the rubble of the collapsed buildings. A contingent of the Military Emergency Unit (UME) of the Spanish Armed Forces traveled to Morocco to support rescue efforts. Emergency services are trying to reach the most affected areas in the Atlas Mountains, the hard-to-reach mountain range where many houses have collapsed.
The earthquake caused damage to close to 600 educational institutions, according to the Moroccan newspaper Le Matin.
In a video message released after the earthquake in Morocco, Rick McEdward, president of the Middle East and North Africa Union Mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, called people of faith to find comfort in the words of Scripture. “We can turn to God to be our help at this difficult time,” McEdward said. “Join us in praying for the populations affected by the earthquake, and remember the people who are suffering after this tragic event.”