GENEVA: The United Nations on Friday said Morocco could ask for aid “today or tomorrow” to help it recover and rebuild following a devastating earthquake that has killed nearly 3,000 people and destroyed tens of thousands of homes.
“We are expecting and hoping, but expecting from our discussions with the Moroccan authorities that the request for assistance will go out within today or tomorrow,” UN aid chief Martin Griffiths told reporters in Geneva.
Morocco has allowed rescue teams to come to its aid from Spain, Britain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates since the magnitude 6.8 quake struck last Friday, but has declined offers from several other nations, including the United States, France and some Middle Eastern countries.
“We are ready to work and we’re ready to provide support on coordination,” Griffiths said, adding that “the next phase is to provide aid to those survivors — shelter, food, medical supplies.”
“It is only in the recent day or so that in Morocco, the shift has been from finding survivors to helping survivors to survive. And that’s when aid is of the highest importance,” he added.
On Thursday, Morocco announced the launch of an aid program to support and rehouse the residents of around 50,000 damaged buildings, and ordered urgent aid of 30,000 dirhams (nearly $3,000) to affected households.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) expects that it will take “weeks, months, years to be able to rebuild,” spokesman Benoit Carpentier told journalists from Marrakech.
“We were talking about rebuilding several of these villages… It’s hundreds and hundreds of villages that are scattered in the mountains,” he said.