Morocco looks for funds to help quake survivors, rebuild homes
Bloomberg News September 15, 2023
(Tribune News Service) — Morocco’s King Mohammed VI ordered his government to raise funds and opened the door to more international aid to help with recovery and reconstruction efforts following last Friday’s devastating earthquake.
The North African kingdom also called on private business and citizens to contribute. The central bank and one of the country’s biggest conglomerates, Al Mada, which is controlled by the royal family, said they would donate almost $100 million each.
The monarch vowed that no survivor of the quake — the strongest to hit the North African country 120 years and which has killed almost 3,000 people, according to the latest official toll — will remain homeless.
The earthquake struck in the High Atlas mountains, close to the tourism magnet of Marrakech.
It was followed shortly after by a huge storm in Libya, which has killed thousands of people, with the eastern town of Derna suffering the most, according to officials.
Morocco’s government will collect contributions from private companies, as well as “brotherly and friendly countries that wish” to contribute, the royal cabinet said after the monarch chaired a meeting late on Thursday. The reconstruction will will be used to strengthen infrastructure and boosting public services in the areas affected.
Morocco’s cabinet has not given an estimate of the costs. It’s said the task will involve rebuilding or repairing 50,000 homes scattered over mostly mountainous areas, with contributions from the state varying at between 80,000 dirhams ($7,800) and 140,000 dirhams per household. Each one in the quake-stricken areas will get an additional “urgent” financial aid of 30,000 dirhams, the cabinet added.
Local donations immediately started to come in following the meeting.
The reconstruction of the stricken areas may cost 30 billion to 50 billion dirhams that could be spread out over five to eight years, former monetary policy and research director at Bank al-Maghrib, Abdelouahed El-Jai, told Bloomberg. Medias24 estimated the financial aid to benefit households would cost 5 to 7 billion dirhams.
The government also said ministers and high-ranking officials will contribute one month of their salaries, while top tier public-sector employees will give three days-worth of their pay.
The government cited the Moroccan constitution, which calls on “citizens to collectively shoulder, proportionate to their means, the costs of development in the country and costs resulting from national calamities and natural disasters.”
With assistance from Hatem Mohareb.
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