Two natural disasters have recently struck the region of North Africa with a devastating earthquake in Morocco followed by severe flooding in Libya caused by Storm Daniel.
On Friday, September 8, 2023, approximately 70 kilometers southwest of Marrakesh in the High Atlas Mountain region of Morocco, a 6.8 magnitude earthquake – the largest in the country since 1969 – caused extreme damage to buildings and property and has claimed the lives of at least 2,900 to date with another 5,500 people injured. Since the region is not traditionally prone to large seismic activity, buildings are not built to withstand such large tremors.
Two days after the earthquake in Morocco, on Sunday, September 10, a Mediterranean hurricane-type event known as a “medicane” struck shore and quickly overwhelmed the port town of Derna in Libya. “Storm Daniel” delivered more than 400mm of rain within 24-hours and swept away families, took down buildings and bridges and completely overwhelmed dams which burst allowing rain waters to flood the streets of the town. Entire neighbourhoods were washed out to sea due to the storm that displaced over 30,000 people, with 10,000 more missing or unaccounted for. As of today, the flood has taken the lives of more than 11,000 people.
While rescue operations are ongoing in both countries, the process is very slow and there is a strong likelihood that the death toll will rise exponentially in the coming days and weeks.
For those interested in supporting humanitarian relief efforts to help those in need, please note the following:
Humanitarian aid for Morocco - The Archdiocese of Toronto will accept donations and channel funds through our Catholic partners in Morocco to support relief efforts underway.
Those wishing to help may do so in the following ways:
Humanitarian aid for Libya - Currently, our Catholic partners are not present in Libya to coordinate relief efforts and as such we are unable to accept donations to aid those affected by the flooding at this time. For those wishing to offer support to the people of Libya, please consider a gift through the Canadian Red Cross in the following ways:
Please continue to pray for those who have died, for those who are missing or displaced because of these tragic disasters in both Morocco and Libya and for all who are working hard to provide relief and rescue in both locations.