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Morocco Begins Providing Cash to Families Whose Homes Were Destroyed by Earthquake

Moroccan authorities on Friday will begin providing money to families whose homes were destroyed in an earthquake last month that took nearly 3,000 lives and will require an estimated $11.7 billion in reconstruction funds over the next five years.

After a commission tasked by King Mohammed VI to oversee recovery efforts met earlier this week, the government said an initial monthly payment of 2,500 Moroccan dirhams ($242) will be disbursed starting Oct. 6.

The Sept. 8 earthquake wreaked havoc on rural regions south of Marrakech, where mountain roads remain unpaved and the economy relies on herding and small-scale agriculture. As autumn nights get cooler, many are sleeping outside in donated tents with the daunting task of rebuilding before them.

The payments are among several forms of relief that Morocco plans to provide residents displaced by the earthquake. It will provide temporary rehousing assistance and up to 140,000 dirhams ($13,600) to rebuild destroyed homes. It also plans to rebuild about 1,000 schools and 42 health centers.

The Royal Cabinet said on Sept. 14 that the payments would go to 50,000 households in the affected region. Roughly 4.2 million people live in Marrakech and the five provinces hardest hit by the quake.

Morocco has also pledged to upgrade and widen roads and offer additional assistance to farmers and herders and subsidize barley and animal feed in hard-hit areas.

The earthquake damaged landmarks throughout the region, which is dominated by Morocco’s Amazigh-speaking minority.

Morocco created a special disaster relief fund three days after the earthquake. It is open to state funds and donations from within and outside Morocco, including from governments and aid groups. 

Additionally, the International Monetary Fund, which is scheduled to convene for its annual meetings next week in Marrakech, approved a $1.3 billion loan to help Morocco bolster its resilience to natural disasters.

Source: Africa News