Tuesday, May 21, 2024

🔴 Live: ‘We stand by you,’ Macron tells Moroccans amid aid tensions after earthquake

French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday addressed the Moroccan public in a video message, saying Paris was ready to provide help in the recovery from Friday’s devastating earthquake if King Mohammed VI accepts France’s offer. As search and rescue operations continue, Morocco has so far refused France’s offer of humanitarian aid. Follow our live blog for the latest updates. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).

📞 Crisis and support centres in Morocco and France

The Embassy of France in Morocco and the crisis and support centre of the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs in Paris have opened crisis centres to respond to requests for information or help from French citizens.

In Morocco: +212 537689900

In France: +33 1 43 17 51 00

8:38pm: Macron condemns ‘unnecessary arguments’ over France-Morocco ties

French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday denounced “unnecessary arguments” over the bilateral relationship between France and Morocco following the devastating earthquake that struck the North African country last week.

Authorities in Morocco have so far not accepted France’s offer of aid following the deadly quake in the Marrakech region.

“I wanted to address Moroccans directly to tell you that France was devastated … by this terrible earthquake,” Macron said in a video posted on social media, adding: “We will be at your side.”

“We have the possibility to provide direct humanitarian aid,” Macron said, adding that it was up to Mohammed VI and the government to organise international support.  “We are at the disposal of their sovereign decision”, Macron said.

Paris and Rabat have had a difficult relationship in recent years – notably over the disputed territory of Western Sahara, which Morocco wants France to recognise as Moroccan. Morocco has not had an envoy in Paris since January.

6:52pm: Morocco king visits quake victims in hospital, state media reports

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI paid a hospital visit Tuesday to victims of the earthquake that rocked the North African country last week, killing at least 2,900 people, state media reported.

The monarch visited Marrakech University Hospital and “inquired about the state of health of the injured” before donating blood, according to the official MAP news agency.

4:03pm: Lack of access for international aid causing ‘rising frustration’ in Morocco

Close ties with Morocco have allowed British search and rescue teams to enter the North African country and provide aid in areas hit by the quake, but that is “not so for other nations who have offered aid,” said FRANCE 24’s Luke Shrago, reporting from Amizmiz, a village at the foot of the Atlas mountains.

Morocco initially agreed to take assistance from only four nations after the quake and has refused offers from France and Germany. “Morocco seems to want to assess each on a case-by-case basis, maintaining its own control over coordination efforts,” Shrago said – an approach that is causing “rising frustration” on the ground.

2:52pm: Morocco quake death toll rises to 2,901, state TV reports

The death toll following the massive earthquake that hit villages in Morocco’s Atlas mountains on Friday has risen to 2,901 and the number of injured has risen to 5,530, Moroccan state TV reported.

2:39pm: Egypt declares three days of mourning to mark disasters in Morocco, Libya

Egypt declared three days of national mourning on Tuesday “in solidarity with Moroccans and Libyans”, the president’s office said, after thousands died in floods in eastern Libya and an earthquake in Morocco.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi ordered the army to provide “all possible humanitarian aid, rescue teams, equipment and camps to shelter survivors in coordination with Libyan and Moroccan institutions”, his spokesman Ahmed Fahmy said in a statement.

The aid will be delivered “by air and sea”, he added.

1:50pm: Paris mayor pledges half a million euros for Morocco relief effort

The city of Paris will contribute €500,000 to help victims of the quake, Mayor Anne Hidalgo has announced in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

The money will be donated via the International Association of French-speaking Mayors (AIMF), an umbrella organisation that includes the municipality of Marrakech, close to the quake’s epicentre.

1:25pm: FRANCE 24 joins Red Cross appeal for quake victims

FRANCE 24 joins the Red Cross and Red Crescent in appealing for assistance to earthquake victims in Morocco.

To help, visit their website and make a donation.

12:15pm: Proceeds from Morocco football match donated to quake victims

Morocco’s football federation has announced that the proceeds of this evening’s football match between Morocco and Burkina Faso, held in the French city of Lens, will be donated to the earthquake relief effort.

Members of Morocco’s national football team, which reached the semi-finals at the recent World Cup in Qatar, took a break from practice on Sunday to donate blood to help quake victims.

11:45am: Viral images falsely attributed to Morocco quake 

Following natural disasters it is common for web users to post false or misleading content online, whether deliberately or not.

FRANCE 24’s Truth or Fake programme takes you through some of the fake images circulating on social media in the wake of the earthquake in Morocco. 

TRUTH OR FAKE © france24

10:50am: IFRC appeals for over $100 million to help quake-hit Morocco

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has launched an emergency appeal for 100 million Swiss francs ($112 million) to support the victims of the earthquake in Morocco.

“In this appeal, we are seeking 100 million CHF to be able to deliver on the most pressing needs at this time,” including water, sanitation and shelter, Caroline Holt, global director for operations at IFRC, told reporters in Geneva. “We need to make sure that we avoid a second wave of disaster.”

10:05am: Morocco quake survivors struggle to access aid

After a slow start, Moroccan authorities are racing to provide shelter and sanitation to those left homeless by the country’s catastrophic earthquake, but many people in remote mountain settlements are still waiting for help to reach them.

FRANCE 24’s Luke Shrago reports from Marrakech.

9:35am: How to help those affected by the earthquake

International aid groups have mobilised in Morocco to support relief efforts, backed by donors big and small.

Experts say the most direct way to provide aid to those affected in the city of Marrakech and the rural areas in the Atlas Mountains is to donate to organisations that have operations already on the ground in Morocco.

That takes on additional importance because so far the Moroccan government has accepted governmental aid from only four nations – Spain, Qatar, Britain and the United Arab Emirates – as it tries to avoid a “counterproductive” lack of coordination.

Here are some groups who have responded and are looking for additional support:

  • The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) quickly released $1.1 million from its Disaster Response Emergency Fund to support Moroccan Red Crescent relief efforts in the country.
  • World Central Kitchen is teaming with Moroccan volunteers to provide food and water in the remote areas hardest hit by the earthquake.
  • Doctors Without Borders has sent 10 staff members to Morocco to assess what the local hospital needs are and how the organisation can support the Moroccan government with supplies or logistics.
  • CARE has launched the Morocco Earthquake Emergency Fund, which it says will prioritise providing women and girls, youth, and disadvantaged groups food and shelter.
  • GlobalGiving’s Morocco Earthquake Relief Fund had raised nearly $500,000 by Monday afternoon to provide food, water and shelter to those who have lost their homes in the earthquake, as well as supporting long-term recovery efforts.

9:05am: ‘We feel abandoned, no one has come to help us’

Homeless, traumatised and in some cases feeling abandoned by the authorities, many survivors of Morocco‘s powerful earthquake escaped death only to fear they are now on their own to stay alive, AFP reports.

The deadly quake has put a heavy burden on the North African kingdom’s emergency resources and some stranded in shattered communities were angry and shocked over what they say is a lack of sufficient aid. 

“We feel abandoned here, no one has come to help us,” said 43-year-old Khadija Aitlkyd among the ruins of her village of Missirat in a remote area high in the Atlas Mountains. “Our houses have collapsed… where are we all going to live?” 

A woman salvages belongings from the rubble of her home in Missirat village in quake-hit Morocco on September 11, 2023.
A woman salvages belongings from the rubble of her home in Missirat village in quake-hit Morocco on September 11, 2023. © Fethi Belaid, AFP

7:15am: Quake survivors find shelter, sanitation in Marrakech tent camps

Moroccan authorities have set up large tents in Marrakech to provide shelter, food and sanitation for people left homeless by the devastating earthquake that killed at least 2,800 people at the weekend. FRANCE 24’s Luke Shrago reports.

6:20am: Moroccan authorities under pressure to accept more aid

Morocco is under pressure to accept help from more countries after agreeing to take assistance from only four nations, including Spain and Britain.

The government in Rabat has so far declined to accept help from other countries including France and Germany. Paris on Monday pledged to send €5 million to aid organisations operating in the country.

Madrid said late Monday it was reinforcing its presence on the ground in Morocco with another five canine rescue teams comprising “31 specialists, 15 search and rescue dogs and 11 vehicles” arriving on Tuesday.

5:15am: Survivors suffer as Morocco quake aid trickles in

Rescuers supported by foreign teams faced 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.  

The deadly quake has put a heavy burden on the North African kingdom’s emergency resources and aid has been slow to reach impacted areas. FRANCE 24’s Clemence Weller reports.

Key developments from Monday, September 11:

Rescuers on Monday faced a growing race against time to dig any survivors from the rubble of devastated villages in Morocco’s Atlas mountains, three days after the massive earthquake that has killed over 2,800 people so far.

Rabat says it has accepted aid offers from four foreign nations, while many other countries have also said they are willing to send assistance.

The French government pledged €5 million ($5.4 million) to aid organisations operating in the quake-stricken country.

Read our blog to see how the day’s events unfolded. 

(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP, Reuters)


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