Between 1 January and 20 August 2018, some 27,788 migrants have arrived by sea and 4,125 by land from Morocco to Europe in 2018. Monthly arrival numbers spiked this year, with a total of 9,597 migrants entering Spanish territory from Morocco in July and 4,377 arrivals in August. Migrant arrival numbers from Morocco to Spain in the January- July period increased 180% in 2018 compared to 2017. Policies implemented by both the Spanish and Moroccan authorities mean that many migrants arriving in Morocco are not able to complete their journey to Europe and are living in Morocco. Shelter, protection and health are key concerns for migrants arriving in Morocco through the western Mediterranean route. The surge in arrivals follows the general migration trends over the past couple years, as people travel during the warmer months before winter.
Doctors of the World, with their local partners Caritas Maroc, Comité d’Entraide International, Centre Social de Développement et Coopération, Association Sakia al-Hamra, Association pour la Lutte Contre le SIDA and Association Manos Solidarias, responded to this intervention in a threemonth project. The project covered most of Morocco’s urban areas along the western Mediterranean route, focusing project activities on WaSH, protection, food security and livelihoods (FSL), shelter and non-food items (NFIs), health and cash distributions. Doctors of the World stated the aim of this intervention was to support their local partners in meeting migrants’ basic needs in Morocco to meet the increased need throughout the country. Medical assistance was provided in camp settings to those requiring assistance, including medical follow ups for cases that required it, as well as distribution of hygiene kits and demonstrations on hygiene sensitisation for people on the move. Additionally, distributions were set up for shelter items, food parcels, cash and mobile phone chargers. Doctors of the World had originally planned to distribute vouchers for phone cards but after consultations with migrants realised providing housing for groups identified as highly vulnerable (e.g. pregnant women, women with newborns, unaccompanied minors, patients requiring medical treatment) for the duration of the upcoming winter would be a better use of funds, utilising the flexibility of the MERF mechanism. Feedback from migrants included comments such as “Do not come once a year, it is not necessary that things stop, do not forget us again, the need does not finish…”