Morocco: Earthquake Preliminary Appeal No. 06/04


The Federation's mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity. It is the world's largest humanitarian organization and its millions of volunteers are active in over 180 countries. For more information:
In Brief


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.

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 7304 204; fax: + 41 22 7330 395

For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmes or operations in this or other countries, or for a full description of the national society profile, please access the Federation's website at

The Situation

At approximately 02:30 on Tuesday, 24 February 2004 an earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale hit northeastern Morocco. The epicentre was reportedly located in the Strait of Gibraltar, approximately 15 kilometres west of the Mediterranean port city of Al Hoceima (185 miles or 295 km east-northeast of the capital Rabat).

Preliminary reports indicate that:

  • six villages are severely affected, including Ait Kamara, which was completely destroyed (most houses in this area are built with mud bricks).

  • over 500 persons are feared dead, and over 2,000 injured.

  • the population in the area numbers 300,000-400,000.

The area affected is mountainous, and access is limited in places. This is the most powerful earthquake to have affected this area since 1964 when a similar quake registering 6.0 occurred near Al Hoceima.

Red Cross and Red Crescent action

The Moroccan Red Crescent (MRC) has mounted an immediate relief assistance and assessment operation, working in close coordination with the Protection Civile and the Moroccan royal army (for logistics support). The MRC has:

  • mobilized staff and volunteers, including medical personnel (doctors and nurses);

  • despatched relief items (2,000 blankets and 100 tents) from central and regional warehouses;

  • deployed ambulances to the disaster site;

  • opened three advance posts (medical, etc.)

  • and requested international assistance to respond to the needs.

Preliminary indications are that the following basic relief items are urgently needed: blankets, tents, clothing, and jerry cans. CHF 75,000 has been allocated from the Federation's DREF to start the relief and assessment operation. In coordination with the national society, a four-person Field Assessment and Coordination Team (FACT), along with three other Federation support persons, is being deployed, and Emergency Response Units (ERUs) for health and water/sanitation are under consideration pending further technical information and assessments from the affected area.

There has been a significant level of mobilization of resources to the MRC from the public and the royal foundation. Local authorities in the affected area have madew arehouses available to the MRC.

Pending the launch of an Emergency Appeal (provisional), the Federation encourages donors to clearly mark items contributed (in-kind) in support of the Moroccan Red Crescent in this operation

The Federation's Regional Officer (Middle east and North Africa Region), supported by the Operations Support Department, has been in constant contact with the Regional Delegation in Tunis and the MRC. A Federation delegate has been deployed to assist with the initial information gathering coordination, and other delegates are being considered. A task force has been formed in Geneva. The Federation will be posting updates on its website, the web-based Disaster Management Information System (DMIS), and on the recently launched FedNet. Contacts are being maintained with a number of PNS who contacted the Secretariat soon after the disaster.


In addition to the Federation's efforts to provide coordination assistance to the MRC, it is anticipated that the Spanish and French Red Cross, based on their geographical proximity and historically close ties to the national society, will play a particularly strong role in this relief and assistance operation.

The needs

Immediate emergency relief (food and non-food)

Given the limited access to the affected area, the early stageof the operation, and the lack of information currently available, the Federation considers the following basic non-food items critical at this point to the initial stage of the operation (preliminary estimates):

  • 1,500 family tents (5 persons per tent);
  • 20 large tents (for medical facilities);
  • 12,000 plastic sheets/tarpaulin;
  • 15,000 mattresses;
  • 30,000 blankets;
  • 12,000 jerry cans;
  • 6,0 00 kitchen sets;
  • 100,000 water purification tablets;
  • heaters (kerosene);
  • kerosene (local procurement);
  • food for 30,000 persons (pasta, vegetable oil, sugar, and tea);
  • tool kits;
  • clothes (mixture of male and female, adult and children) for 30,000 persons.

Longer-term rehabilitation and reconstruction needs

While the Federation is not in a position at this early stage of the operation to provide detailed figures or information on the anticipated longer-te rm needs (rehabilitation and reconstruction), given past experience with earth quakes, the scope of the damage, and the resulting impact on the local population in the affected area, the longer-term needs will be considerable (housing, shelter, and school reconstruction, rehabilitating water lines, etc.) These needs will be conveyed in Operations Updates and a revised Emergency Appeal to be issued shortly once the assessments have neared completion.

Communications - Advocacy and Public information

There is a significant level of media interest in this disaster, and the Federation has already responded to a large number of media requests for information, and is providing updates as they become available.

Budget summary

See Annex 1 for details on this provisional budget.

Abbas Gullet
National Society and Field Support

Markku Niskala
Secretary General

(pdf* format - 37.3 KB)