Description of the disaster
From mid-January, a cold wave has moved across Morocco affecting most cities. Temperatures have fallen rapidly, reach as low as -13 degrees Celsius in high altitude areas, and between -2 and 0 degrees Celsius in the interior of the country. Regions in the east, north and south have been particularly affected. These low temperatures were due to a mass flow of polar air from the Arctic to Eastern Europe and North Africa. The national services of meteorology directorate have confirmed that intense cold conditions are set to continue.
Under royal instructions, and in response to the intense cold spell, the Ministry of the Interior and all external services and military services have launched a special programme of solidarity for the population groups heavily affected by the cold wave, especially mountainous, remote areas and enclosed douars (village communities). This aid programme has already been launched in some heavily affected areas, with some families having already received blankets and food and appropriate equipment for the winter.
This wave of freezing conditions and snow has also caused economic losses and livelihoods due to the isolation of several areas. In addition, traffic paralyzed as well by cutting roads reduced supplies to certain remote communities.
The Ministry of Equipment Transport and Logistics has been mobilized to remove the isolation of those areas and continues to issue periodic bulletins on road conditions and daily weather alerts.
Thus, in addition to roads and mountain passes blocked by snowfall, electricity was interrupted and some houses suffered structural damage. With low temperatures, the water pipes have frozen, interrupting the water supply in many areas but support has been given to them by other agencies.
Most parts of the Kingdom have felt the impact of this unusual cold wave. Faced with this situation, local authorities and relevant services have mobilized all the human and material resources and activated crisis management cells to help the most affected populations.
As an auxiliary of the public authorities in the humanitarian actions and following the example of the previous crises, Moroccan Red Crescent was engaged by the competent authorities to help the affected population. As part of the coordination with the Ministry of the Interior, Moroccan Red Crescent was commissioned to intervene in three regions to help 2,000 families (10,000 beneficiaries) to provide food and relief non-food items. These regions are: Oriental, Tangier-Tetouan and Fes-Taza.