Monday, 25 Sep 2023 - 10 of Tishri, 5784

Israel is sending search and rescue mission to Morocco after a powerful earthquake struck the Marrakech region

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A team of IsraAID, Israel’s leading non-governmental humanitarian aid group, is expected to arrive in Marrakech on Sunday, less than 48 hours after the earthquake.

Israel is to send a search and rescue mission and humanitarian aid to Morocco after an earthquake of 6,9 magnitude shook late Friday night the North African country in the Marrakech region and killed at least 2,000 people.   

A team of IsraAID, Israel’s leading non-governmental humanitarian aid group, is expected to arrive in Marrakech on Sunday, less than 48 hours after the earthquake.

The team will travel to the worst-affected areas and partner with local NGOs to support vulnerable communities. IsraAID is in close contact with the Jewish community in Marrakech and exploring opportunities to partner in relief efforts. The organization will distribute relief items and assess additional needs based on its long-term experience in similar settings.

IsraAID has extensive experience responding to earthquakes around the world, including the in Türkiye-Syria earthquake in March of 2023, Haiti in 2021 and 2010, Indonesia in 2018, Nepal in 2015, Japan in 2011, and more.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered “all ministries and forces to provide assistance as necessary to the Moroccan people, including planning to send an aid delegation to the area,” a statement from his office said.

“The people of Israel extend their hands to our friends, the people of Morocco, at this difficult time and pray for their well-being. We will help in any way we can,”he added.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant ordered the IDF and Defense Ministry “to prepare to provide immediate emergency assistance via the rescue bodies in the Home Front Command,” a statement from his office said.

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen also told his ministry and the embassy in Rabat to contact Moroccan authorities to see how Israel can be of assistance.

The Israeli Foreign Ministery also said in a statement that currently there were no reports of Israeli casualties in the quake, but that “we continue to try and contact all the Israelis who are in Morocco to ensure that they are safe.”

The epicenter of Friday’s quake struck in the Al Haouz region, in Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains. The earthquake took lives and damaged buildings across five provinces, notably affecting the country’s fourth-largest city, Marrakech, about 75 kilometers northeast of the epicenter. With large distances between mountain villages and roads cut off by debris and damage from the quake, the full extent of the damage is still unknown. Aftershocks are expected to continue for several weeks.

Israel and Morocco normalized relations in December 2020 as part of the U.S.-brokered Abraham Accords. In July, Israel recognized Moroccan sovereignty over the Western Sahara, which has paved the way for Morocco to upgrade its liaison office in Tel Aviv to an embassy.

An estimated one million Israelis are either from Morocco or are of Moroccan Jewish descent. Approximately 3,000 Jews currently live in the North African country.

More than 200,000 Israelis visited Morocco in 2022, as coronavirus travel restrictions came to an end.


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