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Morocco: Moroccans Demand More Aid Weeks After Earthquake

Harare — Weeks after the fatal earthquake devastated their homes, hundreds of people in the Moroccan town of Amizmiz are protesting against the local government, BBC reports.

South of Marrakesh, Amizmiz is among the areas devastated by the quake that struck on September 8, 2023. Nearly 3,000 people lost their lives in the most devastating earthquake to hit Morocco in over 60 years, and many more were left homeless and injured.

The local government is accused of disregarding and postponing relief. After the earthquake, the government promised to provide displaced families with financial support to help them rebuild their homes, and they placed them in tented camps. However, the demonstrators said they are unable to stay in the camps because of the worsening weather, which includes frequent strong winds and rainstorms, as well as dipping temperatures as winter draws near. They also said that some of the displaced households have not received aid from the local government, including tents.

Tuesday's demonstration was held in spite of the cancellation by the Amizmiz Earthquake Victims' Coordination Committee, which had planned it. According to the group, they withdrew after local government officials pledged to resolve their issues. They said that officials pledged to expedite relief, which included giving fresh tents to people who hadn't received any before and to people whose tents had been damaged by the severe weather. They also promised to give access to electricity and water for the displaced people, as well as better sanitation in the camps.

Last month, Morocco's King Mohammed VI announced plans to rehabilitate the earthquake-damaged regions and provide relief to the roughly 4.2 million affected people, committing 120 billion Moroccan dirhams (U.S.$11.6 billion) over a five-year period.

A commitment to provide 140,000 dirhams (U.S.$13,500) in reconstruction aid to every household whose home collapsed and 80,000 dirhams (U.S.$7,700) for each household whose home sustained partial damage is part of the plan. As part of a year-long monetary relief scheme, the government announced earlier this month that it has begun providing each impacted household with 2,500 dirhams (U.S.$242) in monthly support.

Following the earthquake, some Moroccans criticized the government for turning down offers of international aid while thousands of people were in dire need of immediate assistance.