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FAQ: Development and Peace ― Caritas Canada’s response to the Morocco earthquake

Do you have a presence in Morocco?

Yes, Development and Peace ― Caritas Canada has a network of allies in the Maghreb, in Tunisia and in Morocco. Our allies and partners in Morocco know the disaster-affected areas well and have access to them. They are capable of handling the present situation, and their work will have positive impacts on the lives of the earthquake survivors, and for Moroccan society as a whole. They are already there, working without fear or favor.

Our programs in the Maghreb stand in solidarity with people impoverished by economic, social and environmental crises in many places and circumstances. In Morocco and Tunisia, for example, our partners help civil society associations working with small farmers, land defenders, pro-democracy activists and migrants.

How can I make donation?

  • By credit card (Visa, Mastercard or American Express)
    • By calling 1 888 234-8533 toll-free

  • By cheque or money order
    • Please make cheques or money orders payable to Development and Peace and mail them to:

      Development and Peace ― Caritas Canada
      555 René-Lévesque Blvd. West, 8th Floor
      Montreal (Quebec) Canada H2Z 1B1

      Please write Morocco Emergency at the bottom of the cheque.

What is the situation on the ground?

Nearly 3,000 people have been killed by the powerful earthquake (magnitude 6.8) that struck Morocco overnight on Friday, September 8. More than 5,500 people have been injured. There has been widespread damage, with thousands of homes, 530 schools and many roads having been damaged or destroyed. Some 380,000 people have been directly affected and UNICEF estimates that about 100,000 children will need protection.

All Moroccan people are devastated. This was the most powerful earthquake to hit their country in 100 years. The quake was felt in Marrakesh, Rabat, Casablanca, Agadir and Essaouira. Entire regions were destroyed. Thousands are now homeless. The epicenter of the tremor was in the province of Al-Haouz, southwest of Marrakesh. Most of the fatalities thus far have been in the vicinity of this epicenter, in the High Atlas mountainous region, access to which is difficult.

Moroccans have been showing remarkable solidarity with their quake-hit compatriots. In mountain villages, while rescue workers are searching for survivors in the rubble, locals are digging graves to give decent burials to victims. Many Moroccans are mobilizing to donate blood. The Moroccan army has deployed human and logistical resources; mobilized air and ground support; sent rescue teams; and set up a field hospital in the Al-Haouz region. However, our allies know that this will not be enough to cope with the scale of the disaster.

International aid is also being deployed to help children and families who have lost everything and to provide shelter and psychosocial support for the victims.

How can Canada and Development and Peace ― Caritas Canada help Morocco?

According to its own assessments of its needs, the Government of Morocco is currently accepting formal bilateral aid from only four countries. Meanwhile, the Government of Canada has announced that it will be donating $2 million directly and matching donations to the Canadian Red Cross, which usually works with its counterparts in disaster-affected countries.

As a concerned person, you may want to support smaller, more local organizations that are more directly connected with the people they serve and that have a better understanding of local cultures and contexts. Such organizations, though less well-funded, tend to be more nimble, responsive and efficient.

Any donation you make to us will be channelled to support capable local organizations. We are working as we usually do in such emergencies: associatively, collaboratively and in solidarity. Our strength lies in our approach of supporting the work of local aid and solidarity organizations and prioritizing the most vulnerable populations.

Where does my donation go?

Your donation goes directly to our Moroccan allies who are on the frontlines right now, providing immediate assistance, determining needs and continually updating priorities on the ground. They are focused on helping the most vulnerable earthquake-affected populations.

How will my donation be used?

Your donation will be used to provide shelter, food, clothing, hygiene kits and medical and psychosocial assistance. In the longer term, your donation will be used to help families regain their homes, rebuild their economic and social lives and exercise their democratic rights, so that Morocco can continue its fight against poverty.

How much of my donation goes to administration costs, and how much to the crisis?

Development and Peace ― Caritas Canada charges a 5% administration fee on emergency donations. This covers the essential work involved in responding to an emergency, such as fundraising, operating donation phone lines, recording donations, sending receipts, accounting, financial control, etc.

Who are your partners?

We are working with well-established organization that have the necessary skills and expertise. They are affiliated or associated with the Catholic Church, even though its numbers in Morocco are smaller than those of other churches and denominations.

Caritas Morocco, which was already responding to the emergency, was the first ally we contacted. Other humanitarian aid agencies from the wider Caritas Internationalis network that are regular allies of Development and Peace ― Caritas Canada were already active in Morocco before the earthquake. We also have a good network of Moroccan farmers’ associations and defenders of land and access to water. We have partners who are active in Morocco (and Tunisia), and others who are also active on a regional level (e.g., for strengthening exchanges of experience and solidarity between associations across the Maghreb, and for advocating for justice and peace across the Middle East).

I want to organize a fundraising event. How can you help me?

The best thing to do is to get in touch with your local animator, who will be able to tell you what’s going on in your area. Our animators’ names and contact details are available on our website.

If you organize a local fundraising activity, it’s best to send the funds in a single cheque made out to Development and Peace ― Caritas Canada (Morocco Emergency). It is also very important to provide us a list of donors, their contact details and the amount of their donations, so that we can issue their tax receipts.

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