“The Al Haouz earthquake and Moroccan lessons” by Prof. Abdelhak Azzouzi


The earthquake that struck Al Haouz and the Atlas on the night of Friday September 9, recording a magnitude of 7 on the Richter scale, caused unprecedented collective pain and sadness.

The earthquake was devastating, given the number of deaths, injuries and widespread destruction of homes and habitats in villages. Rocks fell from the mountains, and the intense tremors caused people to flee their homes while birds abandoned their nests. This disaster considerably affected Morocco's intangible heritage.

However, what astonished the world was the overwhelming display of solidarity of Moroccans, young and old, with their compatriots affected by the earthquake. Images poured in from all corners of Morocco, including the Moroccan Sahara, the Rif region, and from east to west, north to south, even from Moroccans abroad.

Photos showed Moroccan vehicles heading towards the affected areas, human chains buying essential supplies from stores to help those in Al Haouz, Taroudant and Ouarzazate. Images also showed long lines of blood donors in hospitals. I personally witnessed this when a medical center was set up at Euromed University in Fez; students, their families, staff and faculty all competed to donate blood. Without forgetting the generous financial contributions made to dedicated accounts. Images also showed authorities, the royal army and medical teams providing aid to affected communities. This exemplary response from Moroccans surely adds to the list of Morocco's remarkable achievements, embodying the unity between the throne and the people.

As Morocco struggled to count victims, support widows and orphans, rebuild devastated areas, and consider the children and orphans of the Al Haouz earthquake as the "afflicted of the nation", there were detractors and foreign critics. They used empty media platforms and magazines to provoke the feelings of Moroccans, downplaying the remarkable resilience of the Moroccan character in the face of challenges.

These entities could not accept that Morocco was an independent and sovereign nation with a growing reputation in the international system, forging “win-win” strategic humanitarian partnerships with African, Arab and global countries. Of course, their biased reports failed in the face of the wave of fraternity and solidarity displayed by the Moroccan people.

The visit of King Mohammed VI to the victims at the Marrakech hospital, his blood donation for the victims, his generous contribution of one billion dirhams to counter the effects of the earthquake, and the presidency of the relief and resettlement sessions are the ultimate testimony to the “symphony” of national solidarity written by both the throne and the people.

Moroccans, bearers of great values ​​of nationalism and humanity, have proven that phrases such as "Cradle of free men... Source of lights" are not simple empty slogans, but are in reality based on timeless principles which do not change or fade.

Read the article in Arabic version: https://www.aletihad.ae