Because Morocco accepts aid from a small number of countries

Almost two thousand five hundred dead and the same number injured. Countries were destroyed, families were torn apart. A village swept away by the fury of the ground: In Tafeghaghte, half the residents died under the rubble of the strongest earthquake since 2004. It has a magnitude of 7.0 on the Richter scale, with the epicenter at Tata N’Yaaqoub in Al-Haouz province, approximately seventy kilometers from Marrakesh. Morocco is in the midst of a humanitarian crisis.

Why was the earthquake in Morocco so devastating?

Two days after the incident, excavations continue in the country, albeit with bare hands, to find people under the rubble of houses and buildings. Like the entire organizational sector, hospitals are still in difficulty. Immediately after the devastating tremors, the entire international community mobilized to offer assistance to the North African country. Ukraine, as well as the rest of the world, offer resources to help resolve the crisis. But Morocco restricts access to resources and only accepts arrivals from four countries. This is called “humanitarian diplomacy” and creates tension in relations between France and its former colony.

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Although not as dramatic as at the weekend, the number of dead and injured continues to increase with each passing hour. As of today, September 11, 2023, there are 2681 victims and more than two to four hundred injured. Most of the deaths occurred in the Al Haouz region in the High Atlas mountains, the Moroccan Ministry of Internal Affairs reported. Flags were lowered across the country and King Mohammed VI declared three days of national mourning starting next Sunday. In Marrakech, you sleep on the street in sleeping bags on the ground. Families are still afraid to return to their homes and aftershocks continue.

Camping in Marrakech after the earthquake - Photo LaPresse

Rescue teams are working hard to pull people out from under the rubble alive. These are decisive hours to prevent the death toll from getting worse. While hospitals in the region are in a difficult situation due to blood shortage, some areas are still impossible to reach. Tata N’Yaacoub Mayor Abdelrahim Aid Douar, at the epicenter of the earthquake, stated in the call that 5 thousand people were missing and that it was impossible to visit at least 28 towns in the region.

“We have reached places where help has not reached, there are still dead people under the rubble and people are trying to dig them out with their own means. The people here are without help and no one came, when they saw us, they threw themselves into the water. Our cars. We are here privately, the Italian state has nothing to do with this.” So says Cicchetti Marchegiani, head of the Emergency Operations Group (Roe), a mobile civil protection arm that left Rome and is now in Morocco with a team of four.

A destroyed house in Marrakech - Photo by LaPresse

According to Farnesina, four French people were among the victims, and more than five hundred Italians involved are returning home safely. Foreign Affairs Minister Antonio Tajani assured his citizens that they are currently being assisted by ministry officials. And it renewed its approval for emergency aid to the country. But Morocco is in no rush.

Aid given to only four countries

The whole world offered assistance to the North African country: doctors, rescuers, nurses, economic resources. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated his support: “We have offered Morocco all necessary assistance.” French President Emmanuel Macron also reiterated his willingness to provide assistance: “The terrible earthquake in Morocco shocked us all. France is ready to help. Help with first aid,” he said of the G20 in India. Sources from the Italian Red Cross comment: “We are ready to start with an evaluation team. We leave it to the country’s choice. The fundraiser is active.” But for now, Rabat has only allowed aid from Spain, Britain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, and has also accepted some money from Tunisia and China.

The government justified the decision by explaining that “lack of coordination could have a counterproductive effect” but that it “does not rule out allowing other assistance if necessary.” However, the aid powers, which are not entirely random, suggest that there are strategies for diplomatic or geopolitical purposes behind the government’s choices. The countries currently answering “yes” to providing aid are all countries aligned with Morocco in the dispute over the status of Western Sahara.

The area on the Moroccan border is disputed by many parties, and between 2020 and 2021, clashes and clashes flared up again in disputed areas between Rabat and the communities that declared independence. In 2020, President Donald Trump recognized Rabat’s sovereignty over the region in exchange for normalizing relations between Morocco and Israel.

And the reasons for the “no” answer to providing assistance are perhaps even more obvious. Wagner and aid to coup plotters in Mali and Niger keep Russia out, the Qatar gate and human rights issues do not allow aid from EU countries, and Turkey is rejected due to Edogan’s diplomatic policies towards North Africa.

The “no” answer to France is heavier than others

However, the “no” answer to Macron is more striking than the others. Morocco’s refusal to accept the aid offer of its former colonizer increased the tension between the two countries, which is nothing new. Paris-Rabat relations were cold for several years. The reason is the Pegasus scandal: King of Morocco VI. An investigation into whether Mohammed was monitoring Macron’s phone calls through an Israeli company. In addition, there are disagreements between France and Morocco over non-compliance with agreements on the return of illegal immigrants, the Western Sahara dispute and the rapprochement of the Elysée with Algeria.

In an interview with French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna BfmTv He denied that there were any tensions between France and Morocco. The minister defused tensions by denying the existence of “discord” between the two governments and called on them to “respect” the decisions of Morocco, a “sovereign country” that decided to “prioritize the arrival of aid.” “To turn to existing countries depending on the situation and not to receive aid that does not suit their needs.”

“The earthquake is still waiting for Ruler Mohammed VI”

Although this denial has not convinced leading international commentators, the situation remains an impasse. The North African country is currently in a state of emergency. The European Commission also decided to allocate funds to help Moroccans: “Since the beginning of the earthquake, the EU Emergency Response Coordination Center has carefully monitored the situation and remained in contact with the Moroccan authorities to offer them all EU civil protection assistance. In this context, the Commission has confirmed that Morocco’s “It has contacted EU Member States about the possibility of mobilizing response teams if it deems it necessary.” Therefore, perhaps it is aid “from afar”, waiting for the Moroccan government to release the aid.

Discussions continue on social media about the decisions taken by Rabat. The primacy of state causes, at least, is what emerges. Meanwhile, the death toll continues to rise and King Mohammed VI is still expected to be seen in the affected areas. The 60-year-old monarch returned to Rabat on Saturday afternoon from Paris, where he went for a private visit last September 1. That same afternoon, the head of government, Aziz Ajanuch, arrived from the French capital to meet Henry VI. He attended a meeting at the royal palace in Rabat, chaired by Mohammed, about the emergency and the consequences of the earthquake on the population. spanish newspaper El PaísFrom Marrakech, with the title “The most powerful earthquake in the history of Morocco still awaits Mohammed VI”, reflects the sense of abandonment of the affected population.

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Source: Today IT