Earthquake: Morocco King pledges swift succour for victims

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By Kamal Tayo Oropo

King Mohammed VI of Morocco has pledged speedy succour to families of victims of the earthquake which recorded over 2, 946 fatalities.

The monarch made the pledge following a working meeting at the Royal Palace in Rabat earlier on Thursday,  a statement  by the Royal Office said on Friday.

The meeting, chaired by the King, was devoted to activating the emergency programme for rehousing disaster victims.

It was also devoted to caring for the categories most affected by the Al Haouz earthquake.

The Royal Office noted that the meeting followed on from the series of measures ordered by the King.

The office said the meeting was aimed at mobilising all resources, with the necessary speed and efficiency, to help stricken families and citizens.

It added that the focus  in particular was to deploy rehabilitation and reconstruction measures as quickly as possible, in the localities affected by this natural disaster of unprecedented proportions.

According to the royal office, the first version of the rehousing programme presented to the King, and which was prepared by the inter-ministerial commission set up pursuant to the High Royal Instruction, covers some 50,000 totally or partially collapsed homes in the five provinces affected.

It consists, on the one hand, of emergency temporary rehousing measures, in particular through adapted formulas for on-site accommodation in structures designed to withstand the cold and bad weather; or in reception sites equipped with all the necessary amenities.

In addition, the  state will grant emergency aid of 30,000 dirhams to the households concerned.

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The office said, in this respect, the king drew the attention of the competent authorities to the extremely high priority of the rehousing operation, which must be carried out under the necessary conditions of fairness and constant attention to the needs of the populations concerned.

It said that, on the other hand, the programme consisted of immediate reconstruction actions, which would be deployed after preliminary expertise operations and land preparation and stabilisation work.

To this end, direct financial assistance of 140,000 dirhams has been earmarked for totally collapsed dwellings, and 80,000 dirhams to cover rehabilitation work on partially collapsed homes.

King Mohammed VI also insisted on the need for the reconstruction operation to be carried out on the basis of specifications and under technical and architectural supervision in harmony with the region’s heritage and respecting its unique architectural features.

The King reiterated his call for a strong, swift and proactive response, while respecting the dignity, customs and heritage of the populations.

In addition to repairing the damage caused by the earthquake, the royal office said these measures would also involve launching a well-thought-out, integrated and ambitious programme for the reconstruction and general upgrading of the affected regions.

According to the office, this will be both in terms of infrastructure reinforcement and improving the quality of public services.

“This multifaceted programme will primarily mobilise the state’s own financial resources and those of public bodies, and will also be open to contributions from private players and associations, as well as from brotherly and friendly countries that so wish.

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“The king also raised the equally crucial issue of immediate care for orphaned children, who today find themselves without family or resources.

” The king has asked that these children be registered and granted the status of wards of the nation.”

Also, in order to lift them out of this situation of distress and protect them from all risks and all forms of fragility to which they may unfortunately be exposed after a natural disaster, the King ordered the government to launch the adoption process, as quickly as possible, of the bill necessary for this purpose.

“Through the vision and action of its Sovereign, Morocco is once again demonstrating the resilience that characterises it.

“Enabling it to face up to the trials and challenges with resolve, wisdom and determination, thanks to the strength of its institutions and the solidarity and generosity of its people, ” the statement read.

The working meeting was attended by the Head of Government, Mr Aziz Akhannouch, Advisor to the King, Mr Fouad Ali El Himma, and the Interior Minister, Mr AbdelouafiLaftit.

Also in attendance were the Endowments and Islamic Affairs Minister, Mr Ahmed Toufiq; the Economy and Finance Minister, Ms Nadia Fettah, and the National Territory Planning, Land Planning, Housing and City Policy Minister, Ms Fatima Ezzahra El Mansouri.

Others included the Minister Delegate to the Minister of Economy and Finance, in charge of the Budget, Mr Faouzi Lekjaa, as well as Lt.-Gen. Mohammed Berrid, Inspector General of the FAR and Commander of the Southern Zone. (NAN)

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Edited by Vivian Ihechu

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