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Earthquake Alhouz: Reflections on Morocco’s Response to Disaster

Alhouz Earthquake: Reflections on Morocco’s Response to Disaster \ Newslooks \ Opinion \ When disaster struck Morocco on September 8th, 2023, the world watched as the kingdom was engulfed in crisis. The devastating earthquake left almost 3,000 people dead and numerous villages shattered. However, Morocco’s response showcased an impressive blend of strategic leadership, compassionate governance, and societal solidarity, a combination that seemed to resonate with resilience and unity more than with devastation and despair.

From my perspective, the rapid and efficient response was not merely about mitigating a crisis, but it depicted the profound human touch of the king, which was highly commendable and profoundly significant. The reopening of the main road to the earthquake zone within 48 hours, establishing a humanitarian corridor, was a testament to the kingdom’s serious and adept handling of the disaster.

A victim is carried away by rescue workers in Talat N’yakoub, Morocco, Monday Sept. 11, 2023. More than 2,000 people were killed, and the toll was expected to rise as rescuers struggled to reach hard-hit remote areas after a powerful earthquake struck Morocco. (Fernando Sanchez/Europa Press via AP)

I believe the solidarity displayed by ordinary Moroccans, rallying to aid their compatriots, shone a light on the nation’s intrinsic values of sacrifice and collective responsibility. This communal effort, enhanced by the meticulous and unceasing endeavors of the Royal Armed Forces, illustrated the united front of royal and societal entities striving for a common goal.

As an observer, I couldn’t help but admire the composure and determination of King Mohammed VI, who amidst the tragedy, illustrated an empathetic yet restrained leadership. It was visible that he was deeply affected by the plight of his people, yet he maintained a poised stance and led with actionable initiatives. The minimal interaction with media and the prioritization of direct action over external dialogues showed a leader attuned to the needs of his nation above all else.

The monarch’s call for an inter-ministerial committee to address the immediate needs of the affected population was a prompt and strategic decision, indicating a proactive approach to crisis management. The mobilization of resources, both financial and human, demonstrated a seamless coordination between various sectors of governance, a pivotal factor in successful crisis intervention.

The earthquake laid bare the stark disparities and highlighted the pressing need for a comprehensive and inclusive development strategy, ensuring the benefits of tourism and other industries are equitably shared among the regions.

A rescue worker walks through rubble which was caused by the earthquake, in the town of Imi N’tala, outside Marrakech, Morocco, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023. An aftershock rattled central Morocco on Wednesday, striking fear into rescue crews at work in High Atlas villages, digging people out from rubble that could slide. (AP Photo/Mosa’ab Elshamy)

Reflecting on Morocco’s crisis management approach before this event, the prevailing royal leadership appeared to be the fulcrum around which strategic policies revolved. The blend of constitutional, religious, and historical legitimacy vested in royal leadership anchored the state executive governance, with the monarch’s intervention serving as a reassuring presence during such catastrophic times.

To me, the unfolding of events post-disaster underscored the emotional tumult within the nation and revealed the inherent resilience and patriotism. The collective mobilization of the nation, along with traditional crisis management protocols, exemplified the values of citizenship and patriotic duty, converting collective fear and uncertainty into a united front, capable of overcoming tragedy and rebuilding stronger than before.

In conclusion, Morocco’s handling of this crisis was a mirror reflecting its inherent strengths, societal values, and resilient leadership. The balance between royal intervention and societal solidarity painted a picture of a nation that is deeply rooted in its traditions and values while being adaptable and united in the face of adversity. And while the world watched, Morocco didn’t just confront a disaster; it showcased a symphony of resilience, unity, and hope.

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