Issued by the Catholic Center for Studies and Media - Jordan. Editor-in-chief Fr. Rif'at Bader - موقع أبونا

Published on Wednesday, 13 September 2023
Caritas Rabat reaching out to victims of deadly earthquake in Morocco

Jude Atemanke/ :

The humanitarian arm of the Catholic Archdiocese of Rabat, Caritas Rabat, is providing assistance to victims of the September 8 deadly earthquake in Morocco that, according to media reports, has left at least 2,000 people dead, and caused widespread damage in and around the Northern African nation’s city of Marrakesh.


In a statement issued Monday, September 11, the Director of Caritas Rabat shares about the situation at Amizmiz, a small town located some 55 kilometers South of Marrakesh, following their visit.


“All the houses were destroyed by the earthquake and people are staying outside,” Fr. Óscar Arturo says, and adds, “These people have found a few tents to spend the night, but the fragility of the tents that were supposed to shelter them is perceptible.”


Fr. Arturo recounts the encounter with the victims of the earthquake at Amizmiz. He said, “We asked the people what they needed at the moment. For them, what they need at the moment is a generator to have electricity at night and to be able to recharge telephones to be able to communicate with the outside world, more tents to spend the night, mattresses, blankets, simple first-aid equipment.”


“The helplessness and fragility are obvious; the looks on people's faces, after the experience, show fatigue and concern,” he further says, adding, “After spending a good deal of time with them, we have decided to send a first convoy to bring them a generator, clothing, first aid kits, food, medicine and, if possible, tents.”


The director of Caritas Rabat further says that the Catholic entity plans to make Amizmiz the “center from which we can deliver our aid.”


Caritas Rabat has also launched an appeal for “solidarity with our friends and with the various parishes in our Diocese,” he says.


According to a BBC News report, the earthquake “struck at 23:11 local time (22:11 GMT) on Friday”, during which “tremors were felt in several areas of the country from Casablanca to Marrakesh, where many buildings have been destroyed or severely damaged.”


Other Moroccan provinces and municipalities affected by the quake include al-Haouz, Marrakesh, Ouarzazate, Azilal, Chichaoua, and Taroudant, the country’s Ministry of Interior has been quoted as saying.


In a statement issued September 9, Cristóbal Cardinal López Romero of Rabat Archdiocese expresses his spiritual closeness with victims and appeals for support for survivors.


 “The Catholic Church in Morocco-Diocese of Rabat would like to express its compassion for all victims, especially for Moroccan families who are mourning or who have injured family members,” Cardinal López Romero says.


He adds, “Our thoughts also go out to those who have lost their homes and possessions.”


The Spanish-born member of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB) further says, “The Christian communities have been spared any loss of life, and have suffered only minor material damage to church buildings in Marrakech and Ouarzazate.”


“We are appealing for emotional and effective solidarity with those in distress at this time. Through Caritas Rabat we want to convey the aid that our generosity will succeed in making available to the most urgent needs,” Cardinal López Romero says.


He implores, “May God help us to draw positive consequences from this painful event, by transforming our hearts into hearts of mercy, solidarity, and tenderness towards our brothers and sisters in distress.”


On September 9, Pope Francis offered Morocco “prayerful communion” following the earthquake. In a telegram message addressed to the victims of the earthquake in Morocco on behalf of the Holy Father, the Vatican Secretary of State, Pietro Cardinal Parolin, said that Pope Francis “expresses his deep solidarity with those who are touched in their flesh and their hearts by this tragedy.”