Morocco: Cold Wave DREF Operation n° MDRMA009 Emergency Plan of Action Final Report

Situation Report
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Description of the disaster

Starting from 5 January 2018, Morocco experienced generally below normal season temperatures. Heavy snowfall affected the High Atlas and the Middle Atlas mountain ranges, falling down to 900 meters above sea level. Recorded temperatures dropped as low as minus 5 ° C, compared with 18 ° C, which is the average temperature for this time of year is around (ranging between a low of 7 degrees and a high of 23 degrees).

Snowfall in the interior of the country closed roads according to the Ministry of Transport, which isolated communities. Road closures meant that farmers could not feed livestock at the foot of the Middle Atlas Mountains. The cold wave also affected, to a lesser extent, the Atlantic coast. A hailstorm caused damage in the capital city,

The heavy rains were greeted with relief by farmers, who were worried about the prolonged drought conditions. Since November 2017, the government has taken measures to deal with the drought and a subsequent difficult agrarian year. Pastoralists and farmers received aid, however with very low temperatures the situation worsened. Economic losses have spiked, prices have risen, livelihoods disrupted and cold-related diseases such as hyperthermia and bronchitis, flu and pneumonia have increased. In response, the Government declared a state of emergency, instructing all Ministries and Civil Society, including the Morocco Red Crescent; to respond to the disaster.

The snowfall has affected areas known to be of the poorest areas of Morocco. Freezing conditions impacted access for extended periods, reducing the ability to reach remote communities. The Ministry of Equipment, Transport and Logistics mobilized resources to facilitate access to affected areas and issued updated road condition reports and weather alerts.

As auxiliary to Government, the Moroccan Red Crescent (MRCS) was requested to assist affected population government authorities, as part of a “Monitoring and Coordination” unit composed of local governances, Government Line Ministries, the Royal Army, Mohammed V Foundation as well as local NGOs. As part of the coordination with the Ministry of the Interior, Moroccan Red Crescent was commissioned to intervene in seven provinces to assist 3,500 families (17,500 beneficiaries) with food and non-food items. These provinces are: Chefchaouen, Midelt, Agadir,
Ouarzazate, Guercif, Zagora and Taroudant.