Morocco – September 11 2023 Morocco Earthquake: SOS Children’s Villages Responds to Crisis In the early hours of Saturday, September 9th, a devastating earthquake struck the regions surrounding Marrakech, Morocco, resulting in substantial destruction and a tragic loss of life. In the wake of this tragedy, SOS Children’s Villages in Morocco is actively taking steps to provide humanitarian aid and support. Update on SOS Children’s Villages Programs The earthquake’s epicenter was near Aït Ourir, 30 km east of Marrakech Center. Thankfully, none of the children supported by SOS Children’s Villages, or our staff, have been reported injured. Our colleagues in Morocco are continuing to assess any structural damages to the buildings. Ms. Samya El Mousti, National Director of SOS Children’s Villages in Morocco, provided reassurance in the wake of the disaster. “The children were very scared when they felt the tremors, but fortunately the children’s village is solidly built, and the houses were not damaged. The children and young people, as well as the caregivers and foster care families, are well and safe. All staff are well too.” She added, “We are currently assessing the needs of neighboring communities in order to launch an emergency response and help the most vulnerable.” Earthquakes can lead to fear, anxiety, and potential post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSS) in children, with some experiencing regression as a result. Supportive environments and early intervention are essential in helping children cope with these psychological effects. This of paramount importance to our colleagues working on the ground in Morocco and will remain a core focus alongside our emergency humanitarian response. The Current Situation As of Sunday, September 10th, 8:20 GMT, more than 2,000 people have been confirmed dead and 2,059 others injured, including 1404 in critical condition (REUTERS; Interior Ministry). The epicenter was located about 72 kilometers southwest of Marrakech, a city with a population of 840,000 people. These numbers are expected to rise as the full extent of the disaster becomes clear. The earthquake impacted provinces including Al Haouz, Ouarzazate, Marrakech, Azilal, Chichaoua, and Taroudant. The tremors even reached parts of southern Spain. In mountainous regions, rescue operations are hindered due to the extensive damage to homes. Both the United Nations and various governments globally have extended their support and solidarity to assist Morocco during this crisis. SOS Children’s Villages Response and Plan SOS Children’s Villages Morocco is determined to act swiftly and effectively to support those impacted. In partnership with the SOS Children’s Villages International Humanitarian Team, an exhaustive emergency response will be launched, leveraging our vast expertise and existing programs to ensure these are streamlined and effective. At present, teams from SOS Children’s Villages Morocco and the International Humanitarian Team are on the ground, assessing immediate needs, especially focusing on children who have lost, or risk losing, parental care. Their commitment includes collaborating with local authorities, other humanitarian agencies, and community leaders to ensure a united, efficient, and impactful response. At this critical moment, SOS Children’s Villages’ commitment is unwavering. Our colleagues in Morocco and around the world will continue to offer swift assistance while also looking ahead to the long-term requirements of vulnerable children and families in the affected areas. We will continue to share updates as they occur. Ms. Samya El Mousti, National Director of SOS Children’s Villages in Morocco, is available for media interviews in English (limited), French and Arabic (fluent). For additional information, or to request an interview, contact SOS Children's Villages USA at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your support allows us to act swiftly and effectively to support children and families during emergency situations such as this, and to build resilience against future disaster in the communities we support. Please call 1-888-SOS-4KID or visit https://www.sos-usa.org/emergency-response/earthquake-morocco to support children and families in Morocco.