By Minaz Kerawala, Communications and Public Relations Advisor
Development and Peace ― Caritas Canada is collecting funds to support rescue and relief efforts in Morocco, after the country was hit by its most powerful earthquake in a century.
Last night, at 11:11 p.m. local time, a magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck in Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains, 72 kilometres southwest of the city of Marrakesh. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported at least 1,037 lives lost and 670+ people wounded, of whom over 200 are critically injured. Subsequent media reports put the death toll past 2,000. These grim numbers are likely to rise dramatically.
In a telegram sent on his behalf by the Cardinal Secretary of State, Pope Francis expressed “his profound solidarity with those who are touched in their flesh and heart by this tragedy” and prayed “for the repose of the dead, the healing of the injured and the consolation of those who mourn the loss of their loved ones and their homes.”
Development and Peace ― Caritas Canada is establishing contact with organizations in the region, including Caritas Morocco. The wider Caritas Internationalis network, too, is mobilizing to help as necessary. Our allies are heading for the affected areas―most of which are quite isolated―to begin immediate lifesaving and rescue work; to better assess needs; and to coordinate relief efforts.
From responding to many such natural disasters, we know that in addition meeting to great and urgent immediate needs, it is always necessary to invest in longer-term recovery and resilience-building efforts. Both of these forms of aid require and rely on the generosity of Canadians, which has always been forthcoming.
Now, it is the people of Morocco who will need your help.