Morocco: Earthquake Appeal No. 06/04 - Operations Update no. 3

Situation Report
Originally published


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In Brief

Period covered: 1-8 March 2004

Appeal coverage: over 100% (note: the attached list of contributions reflects a coverage of 55%, this is however being updated as pledge management notes are signed and recorded).

Appeal history:

  • Launched on a provisional basis on 24 February 2004 for CHF 2,832,000 (USD 2,282,852 or EUR 1,799,553) for 6 months to assist 30,000 beneficiaries.
  • Disaster Relief Emergency Funds (DREF) allocated: CHF 75,000.
  • With Operations Update no. 2, this is now considered a full (and final) Appeal.
Outstanding needs: none; this appeal is fully covered.

Related Emergency or Annual Appeals: 2004 Annual Appeal for North Africa (no. 01.88/2004)

Operational Summary: Despite the fact that the intensity and frequency of tremors or aftershocks have decreased (the last powerful one struck the northern Moroccan province of Al Hoceima in the evening of 03 March), almost the entire population of approximately half a million people continues to liveand sleep outdoors. Demand for tents therefore remains high, with each household hoping to receive at least one tent. The Red Crescent Society of Morocco (MRCS), supported by the Federation, hasdist ributed a total of 5,552 tents to direct beneficiaries in the seven most affected rural communes and the urban commune of Imzouren city.

Distributions of other relief items such as blankets, jerry cans, used cloths; plastic sheeting and kitchen sets that were received in response to both the current Appeal,and/ or bilaterally,started on 05, March. Small-scale commercial activities have been restored, but the normal life of the population in the affected regions remains largely disrupted.

HRM the King Mohammed VI of Morocco visited the MRSC/Federation compound on Wednesday, 03 March during which he expressed his appreciation of the work carried out by the Red Cross and Red Crescent.

The MRCS's targeted response to remote communities, supported by the Federation Field Assessment Coordination Team (FACT) and logistics ERU, has considerably raised the profile of the national society among the affected population, the civil society, and the authorities. As a result, various donors are increasingly approaching the MRCS with requests to use its distribution channels. Given the logistical constraints in reaching many of the affected rural communities and available resources, the MRCS has been obliged to decline many of these offers while concentrating efforts on carrying out its planned distributions. A plan of action was developed in order to structure the next phase of the current emergency operation with a view to shifting to longer-term capacity building plans as per the regional annual appeal planning.

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

  • Moroccan Red Crescent; email:
  • Regional Office (Tunis): Anne Leclerc, Head of Regional Office for North Africa; e-mail:; phone: + 216 71 86 24 85; fax: + 216 71 86 29 71
  • In Geneva: Pieter De Rijke, Regional Officer, MENA Department, email:; phone: + 41 22 730 4204; fax: +41 22 733 0395
All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable.


At approximately 02:30 am on Tuesday, 24 February 2004, an earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale hit northeastern Morocco. The epicenter was located in the Strait of Gibraltar, approximately 15 kilometers west of the Mediterranean port city of Al Hoceima (185 miles or 295 km east-northeast of the capital Rabat) capital of the Al Hoceima willaya1. The hinterland of the willaya is a mountainous area populated with scattered rural communities.

The region affected by the earthquake covers a perimeter of 78 km, with Imzouren and seven rural communes at its center and the villages of Sidi Daoud in the west (towards Tangiers) and of M'noud in the east (towards Nador) at the periphery. In the urban commune of Imzouren (population 25,547) 110 houses were completely destroyed. In addition to Imzouren seven rural communes were particularly affected.

Bni Bou
No.of habitants

Operational developments

According to the latest official statistics, the earthquake caused 640 deaths and some 547 injured and made tens of thousand vulnerable in the North east Moroccan willaya of Al Hoceima. Official statistics on damages and plans for reconstruction and rehabilitation were not made public yet. Even though the schools have been officially reopened, the students have not been able to resume regained their classrooms. Small scale commercial activities have resumed in Al-Hoceima and Imzouren but the supply chain is still interrupted especially in the rural areas.

The MRCS, through its Al Hoceima branch, was among to respond to the disaster,t ogether with the civil defense, local communities and authorities, the army and national NGOs. The prompt arrival of responsible staff from the National Society's headquarters and wide mobilization of resources across the country marked the second phase of the operation. The MRCS disaster management center was established in the yard of a damaged secondary school in Imzouren. Besides the operational function, the compound was used for accommodation of staff and volunteers from both the National Society and the International Federation as well as for the reception and stocking of incoming relief items. At the outskirts of the compound, the MRCS organized a camp for the affected population. The capacity of the camp has been gradually expanded with 1,500 people currently sheltered in some 200 tents.

In line with its mandate and capacities, the MRCS is planning the exit strategy with the hand over of the camp to responsible authorities. Also the national society has been increasingly under the pressure of various donors willing to use its pipeline and distribute quantities of unsolicited goods often dispatched in bulk. Consequently, it was decided to redirect all medical items and equipments as well as food to competent health and social authorities.

In that context and given the wide recognition the MRCS gained from both the affected population and HRM the King as a highest authority in the country, a structured dialogue with other players on the national response scene was initiated. Having completed their mission, all members of the International Federation FACT team will leave Morocco by 11, March. The combined Spanish/French RC Logistics ERU will stay for an additional two weeks with staff replacement now underway.


1 Al-Hoseima is a willaya of a Taza-Al Hoceima-Taounate region.

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