Morocco: Cold Wave Emergency Plan of Action Final Report DREF Operation n° MDRMA007

A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

Morocco was affected by a cold wave on Saturday the 27th of February 2016, this wave caused by a polar air mass flow passing from the North Pole to Europe and North Africa generated westerly winds accompanied with extreme and low temperatures. 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 wave caused economic losses and isolation for several areas in Morocco, the electricity was interrupted as well and houses suffered from structural damages and water supply interruption due to the freezing temperatures.

The Ministry of Equipment and Transport was mobilized to reconnect the remote areas and launched periodic newsletters on road conditions and weather warnings. The Ministry of the Interior, the Royal Gendarmerie and the Mohammed V Foundation for Solidarity, 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. Several families received food, blankets and other much needed winterization, materials and support immediately.

Given the severity of the situation, local authorities and relevant departments mobilized all human and material resources to assist the most affected population. The Moroccan Red Crescent (MRC) was among the first responders to bring help to the most affected people.

Summary of response

Overview of Host National Society

The Moroccan Red Crescent (MRC) is part of the national disaster plan and collaborates in its auxiliary role with local authorities, health services, civil protection, and armed forces in the field of assessment, relief (delivery of food and non-food items) provision of first aid, transport and psycho-social support. Since the start of the meteorological alert, the Moroccan Red Crescent, through its regional and local committees, has been present in the affected regions and communities- mobilizing and organizing intervention teams and maintaining close contact with the central headquarters to report on the changing situation and the assessed needs. First aid posts were established in close coordination with health authorities in the different provinces. The MRC has been active since the initial weather warnings, placing its volunteers on alert. Regular monitoring of the situation was conducted as the storms and cold wave evolved and will continue in order to identify the subsequent needs of the affected communities. The relief operation is primarily focusing on the Oriental region (Figuig province), Fes Taza region (Taza, Guercif) and Tadla Azilal region (Azilal) focusing on collaborating with the authorities on distributing food and nonfood items (blankets and warm clothes) as well as providing first aid, psycho-social support and transport facilities to the affected people and carrying out on-going needs assessment. In the field of health, MRC mobile medical teams have been operating in the districts most threatened, providing not only first aid and basic medicines, but also organizing health awareness and prevention activities. At the request of national and regional authorities, MRC provincial committees have established several Red Crescent health posts providing 24 hours service to communities. The Ministry of the Interior has identified significant losses and continuing needs, especially in the livelihoods and food security sectors. Under the instruction of the Princess Lalla Malika, President of MRC, the NS, is routing basic food items, and blankets to isolated communities. MRC’s volunteers had distributed food and non-food items and had reached all areas programmed in this plan of action.