A powerful earthquake struck Morocco shortly after 10pm on Friday 8 September, with the epicentre located in the High Atlas Mountains, southwest of the city of Marrakech. Over 3,000 people have died and 1000s injured. Sadly, few days later, a powerful storm, Storm Daniel, in Libya caused catastrophic damage in the north-east city of Derna. More than 5,000 people are reported dead and 10,000s people missing. Once the flood waters recede, there will be a long road to recovery. Sadly, these tragic figures are likely to rise in both countries as the recovery operations continue.
The Faculty of Public Health, and the Faculty’s Africa and Disasters and Humanitarian Response Special Interest Groups (SIGs) would like to express deep condolences for those affected amid the massive loss of life and destruction and stand in solidarity with the health and humanitarian workers for their search and rescue efforts at this desperate time. Prof. Aliko Ahmed and Dr Victor Joseph, co-chairs of the Africa SIG said: “We are deeply saddened by the loss of life and the devastating consequences of these catastrophic events. Our thoughts are with the Moroccan and Libyan people and the families and communities affected”. Ms. Kanza Ahmed, Chair of the Disasters and Humanitarian Response SIG said: “Our thoughts are with all those affected in both countries. It is important that the global community works together to support the local responses and help rebuild in a way that reduces the future risk of harm from similar disasters”.
The immediate impact of these events has been substantial and devastating, and the long-term public health impacts are likely to be equally significant, especially for the most vulnerable populations. Considering the tragic loss of life and infrastructure, it is imperative that the international community comes together to provide adequate assistance. The Faculty of Public Health SIGs are prepared to work with partners to strengthen the public health response.
If you would like to support these vital humanitarian efforts, DEC proposes donating to their member charities which are making rapid assessments and mobilising teams to help.