In just three days, North Africa has been hit by two very serious natural disasters that have brought Morocco and Libya to their knees respectively: a 6.8 magnitude earthquake and storm Daniel.
Our operators on the ground report “devastated towns, entire villages completely destroyed and beyond the reach of rescue services. Tens of thousands of victims and survivors who do not know where to sleep or what to eat. The sanitary and hygiene situation is very critical”.
The two tragedies caused a total of more than 14,200 victims, at least 13,000 injured and tens of thousands missing. We of CESVI immediately took action to bring relief and assistance to the people of both countries, with the distribution of basic necessities and psychological support.
In Morocco, the death toll from the earthquake of 8 September is over 2,900 and there are more than 5,600 injured people. The greatest damage was recorded in mountainous areas and relief efforts are struggling to reach the worst affected villages. More than 300,000 people were directly affected by the disaster, including more than 100,000 children. “More than 82,000 people have lost their homes and thousands of families are forced to sleep in the open or in makeshift camps,” says Roberto Vignola, Deputy General Manager of CESVI. “Together with our partners in Morocco, we have mobilised to bring the most urgent aid: the population needs water, hygiene and sanitary products and tents right now. Warm blankets are also needed, because of the high temperatures. Our emergency team is on the ground in the provinces of Marrakech and Agadir to analyse the needs of the population, focusing on the strong need for protection services and emotional and psychological support. We plan to launch a psychosocial support programme. Particular attention will be given to children, for whom we plan to create inclusive meeting places”.
In Libya, storm ‘Daniel’ caused an unprecedented catastrophe, affecting over 880,000 people, including at least 300,000 children. In Derna alone, the Ministry of Health of the Eastern Libyan government has ascertained 3,252 dead, although the United Nations estimates more than 11,300 and there are fears that the death toll could reach over 20,000. According to the latest IOM estimates, there are about 36,000 people left homeless in the affected areas, while the situation for the 600,000 migrants in Libyan territory is not yet known. Roberto Vignola points out: “Our team is already on the ground and with the support of Welthungerhilfe (WHH) – partner of Alliance2015 – we have planned to distribute hygiene kits, drinking water, clothes, mattresses and school kits to meet immediate needs. Initially, we will intervene inside temporary shelters and private homes in the area surrounding Derna where more and more displaced people seek refuge and shelter. Here we will also set up emergency psychological first aid services and create Child Safe Spaces for recreational and educational activities for children”.
In recent years, we of CESVI have responded to emergencies around the world, caring for people affected by natural disasters, extreme weather events, conflicts and pandemics. Our main focus has always been to provide psychological support, basic necessities and assistance to affected communities.