Morocco: Floods Emergency Appeal No. MDRMA001 Operations Update No. 2


GLIDE n=B0 FF-2008-000202-MAR

Period covered by this Ops Update: 21 December 2008 to 13 February, 2009;

Appeal target: CHF 1,618,182 (USD 1,388,055 or EUR 1,087,585);

Appeal coverage: 7%

Appeal history:

- This Emergency Appeal was launched on 7 November 2008 for CHF 1,618,182 (USD 1,388,055 or EUR 1,087,585) for six months to assist 10,000 beneficiaries.

- The coverage of the Appeal remains very low despite the continuous bad climatic conditions and the increasing needs of the poor populations. Soft pledges and applications to governmental funding are still to be confirmed. The budget will have to be revised downwards - despite existing needs - if not more partners are responding swiftly and forcefully.


Over the last week, heavy rains in Morocco have claimed 30 lives and forced more than 5,000 people to be evacuated. Rivers rose and houses were swept away due to landslides, causing considerable damages on the infrastructure and agricultural fields across northern and central Morocco. A statement from the interior ministry stated that the recent flooding is estimated to have affected nearly 5,000 inhabitants in six regions. The situation remains also critical in remote mountainous areas of Tadla. Some villages are totally isolated and cannot be reached by road or by air (helicopter) due to bad climatic conditions. According to the authorities in Rabat, 2,252 houses have been destroyed and another 328 damaged, while 80,000 hectares (300 square miles) of agricultural land submerged. Hundreds among those evacuated are in temporary shelter, receiving food aid along with bedding equipment and basic medicine. Morocco's weather forecasts have warned that the rains and the cold wave are set to continue through the coming week.

The Moroccan Red Crescent (Moroccan RC) is supporting the local authorities in providing the needed assistance to the affected community, reassessing its reserves and stocks, planning for dispatching the relief items in key strategic areas, and preparing its volunteers locally for action. The National Society has mobilised 100 volunteers for this new crisis and contacts are maintained with local authorities, both at central and local level.

The situation

Morocco has been affected by torrential rains since early October, causing 70 deaths and thousands of homeless accommodated in temporary shelters or at relatives' homes. As predicted, the weather did not improve in the country in the last months and rains and snow falls, coupled with an unprecedented cold wave, continued to affect several regions in November and December 2008. The floods have affected 16 provinces of the country.

The worst hit region is Sidi Slimane, located 100 km north of the capital Rabat. Flooding continues near the Mediterranean port of Saidia, and volunteers and emergency workers are erecting a dyke and are digging canals in attempts to channel the flood waters towards the sea. The devastation is much worse in the rural areas, where homes are unable to withstand the effects of the heavy flooding and snowfalls.

The exceptional rainfall that has occurred over the last seven days has caused some dams to exceed their maximum capacities. The forecasts are warning the population as the country may not be over the worst of the bad weather, and the threat of further floods is continuing in some regions. According to officials, during the last month, rain levels in Morocco have been at their highest in 35 years.