Morocco

Morocco: Cold Wave DREF Operation n° MDRMA007

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A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

A cold wave has affected Morocco on Saturday 27 February, 2016, caused by a polar air mass flow passing from the North Pole to Europe and North Africa, and has generated westerly winds that has brought extreme and exceptionally low temperatures as per the Communications Department at the National Directorate of Meteorology.

The regions of the Middle Atlas and the north of the High Atlas and the neighbouring plains witnessed severe thunderstorms, while significant snow fell over the High and Middle Atlas, the Rif and the highlands of eastern Morocco.

This precipitation was accompanied by moderate to strong winds, and temperatures that dropped significantly, reaching exceptionally low records, particularly in the interior regions of the country and the Atlas mountains. The situation is forecast to improve in the coming days, according to the National Weather Service.

This wave of frost and snow has caused economic losses and isolated several areas in Morocco. Furthermore, electricity was interrupted and some houses suffered structural damages and water supply was interrupted in many regions due to the freezing temperatures. The Ministry of Equipment and Transport was mobilized to reconnect the remote areas and continues to launch periodic newsletters on road conditions and weather warnings.

The Ministry of the Interior, the Royal Gendarmerie and the Mohammed V Foundation for Solidarity, have launched a special program for solidarity with population most affected by the cold wave, especially in the Douars mountainous and remote areas. This assistance program was launched in some heavily affected areas as of last week. Several families have already received food, blankets and other much needed winterization, materials and support.

Given the severity of the situation, local authorities and relevant departments have mobilized all human and material resources and have been operating since Friday to assist the most affected population. The Moroccan Red Crescent was among the first responders to bring help to the most affected people. Details of the operations carried out so far is described in the next section.

Through this DREF, the Moroccan Red Crescent will intervene in three regions to assist 1,500 families (7,500 beneficiaries) providing food and non-food items to the most affected women, men boys and girls. Those regions heavily affected by the cold wave are: Oriental, Tadla Azilal and in four localities in Fes Taza.