“The needs are enormous, namely food, clothes, tents, as well as hygiene kits and blankets for the cold of the night. There are entire villages destroyed,” said Fr. Oscar Arturo Padilla, director of Caritas Rabat. Fr. Padilla earlier visited Amizmiz, a small city in Morocco about 50 kilometers from Marrakech, and some small towns in the surrounding mountain areas.
Shortly after the earthquake that struck the central area of Morocco on the night of Friday, 8 September, the missionary priest travelled from Rabat to Marrakech, where a meeting of parish Caritas groups was held. Cardinal Cristóbal López Romero, archbishop of Rabat and president of Caritas Morocco, also celebrated Holy Mass there in the Church of the Martyrs.
Sunday afternoon, a small Caritas team led by Father Padilla visited Amizmiz and a few surrounding villages that could be reached. “I was very moved by the visit. These people have lost everything, and I fear it will take months to restore their lives,” said Fr. Padilla. After Amizmiz, the delegation reached a small village of about 60 people on the mountainside. The earthquake had caused boulders to fall, blocking the main road, but the inhabitants had created an alternative route. “As soon as they saw us, they embraced us. They felt completely cut off. Helplessness, tiredness and concern were clear in their eyes. The earthquake had destroyed all the houses. Some people found a few tents to spend the night, but the fragility of the tents that should have sheltered them was obvious,” added Fr. Padilla.
A Caritas team is currently searching for motorbikes to reach other areas and villages unreachable by cars. They will distribute generators, clothes, first aid kits, food, medicines and tents in the following hours.
Caritas Internationalis and the Caritas MONA (Middle East and North Africa) Regional Secretariat are in contact with Caritas staff in Morocco. The Caritas network is moving quickly to provide support and financial resources for the emergency response.
“We are deeply concerned about the people who have suffered this devastating earthquake. Since immediately after the earthquake, we have been in close contact with our colleagues in Caritas Morocco and are moving quickly to provide what they need. ‘Thank you’ to everyone who supports our work. We couldn’t do it without you!” says Caritas Internationalis Secretary General Alistair Dutton.