Jersey Overseas Aid, the island’s official aid agency, has allocated a total of £175,000 to support the relief efforts in Morocco and Libya following two natural disasters that have claimed thousands of lives and made many more homeless and in need of lifesaving assistance.
Deputy Carolyn Labey, Minister for International Development and Chair of the JOA Commission, said: “I am deeply saddened to see the devastation left in the wake of both the earthquake in Morocco and the floods in Libya. Both disasters have claimed many lives and left thousands homeless and without basic necessities such as food, clean water, shelter and access to medical services. Following close engagement with our humanitarian partners, two allocations have been made to charities RedR and the British Red Cross, both of which are providing critical humanitarian support in Morocco and Libya.”
On 8th September an earthquake of 6.8 magnitude struck the High Atlas Mountains, 71km south-west of the city of Marrakesh, Morocco, causing close to 3,000 fatalities with thousands more injured. The scale of damage in the affected region is catastrophic with some villages entirely destroyed and many left homeless. Roads and critical infrastructure have been severely impacted hampering humanitarian access and the supply of essential relief items.
JOA is supporting British based charity, RedR, with an allocation of £75,000 for its ‘structural damage assessment programme’. Building on its extensive experience in earthquake response – most recently in relation to the Turkey-Syria earthquake – RedR will work with 814 local engineers, technical responders and other humanitarian responders to assess damage to buildings and determine safe entry. Part of their response will focus on developing training capacity amongst structural specialists in Morocco, empowering them to support fellow engineers and engineering capacity in the region for years to come.
“With the generous support of Jersey Overseas Aid, RedR UK are drawing from our previous earthquake response experience and mobilising our position as a bridge between the humanitarian and engineering sectors to provide technical expertise in Morocco. The funding from JOA will enable us to support local technical and non-technical responders to assess damage to buildings and homes, determining safe entry.
“JOA support also enables us to empower engineers and other responders to provide safe, effective, and needs-based humanitarian response in Morocco,” said Noor Kuchai, RedR UK Senior Technical Programmes Coordinator.
A couple of days later, on 10th September, Storm Daniel battered the Northeastern coastal areas of Libya. The storm resulted in widespread floods that washed away entire neighbourhoods and wrecked homes in several coastal towns. The devastating consequences for the affected people and infrastructure are unprecedented. Nearly 4,000 individuals have reportedly lost their lives with humanitarian actors targeting the most urgent basic needs, including shelter, medicine, food, body bags, first aid kits and household items.
A major challenge for humanitarian responders has been access to the flood-hit areas, as roads have been seriously degraded or destroyed with many aid agencies awaiting permission from local authorities to intervene. The ongoing conflict, political instability, and deteriorating economy have compounded the situation.
Jersey’s allocation of £100,000 will go to The British Red Cross and their Libya Floods Appeal . Funds will support the Libya Red Crescent (LRC) and the wider Movement’s response to the emergency, prioritising first aid and emergency medical assistance as well as the prevention of disease outbreak, especially waterborne diseases including cholera. Other key areas include the provision and distribution of emergency shelter kits and household items.
Richard Blewitt, Executive Director of International for the British Red Cross, said: “The floods in Libya have caused a shocking level of destruction, thousands are thought to have died and thousands more are still missing. The priority right now is search and rescue so we can save as many lives as possible. Red Cross teams are responding, providing first aid to those that need it, searching for the missing and helping to reunite families. However, the situation is extremely dangerous and sadly, three Libyan Red Crescent volunteers lost their lives while trying to save the lives of others. Our thoughts are with their families and all the families who have lost loved ones in these floods.”
Pictured: The Libyan Red Crescent Team. Picture credit: Libyan Red Crescent