On September 8th, 2023 at 11:11 pm, an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.8 occurred 71.8 km southwest of Marrakech in the High Atlas Mountain region of Ighil, in Al Haouz province.
It was the largest earthquake in the country’s modern history creating a cascade of devastation, and loss but also, solidarity and opportunity for renewal.
The High Atlas Foundation has been directly working with the people and communities most impacted with the earthquake for over twenty-two years. Because of HAF’s wide ranging network of partners, associations, communities and cooperatives, HAF has been able to respond rapidly to the urgent and developing needs of the communities. This wide ranging network allowed HAF to connect critical needs of its communities with donors who are already familiar with the work and the community HAF serves.
Not only was HAF able to assess and then supply the essential goods necessary, distribution was critical. Every year HAF delivers thousands of tons of agricultural supplies to all regions of Morocco, so HAF had the network of trucks and the drivers ready to respond when the crisis occurred. This became a crucial asset when it came to distributing essential goods to communities otherwise hard to reach.
“We were able to move high quantities of goods quickly which was critical for high impact,” remarked Yossef Ben-Meir, President of HAF.
Since Sunday, September 10th, the High Atlas Foundation has provided 118 tons of supplies to 80 villages, in 50 municipalities, serving 4,257 families.
“One main reason we’ve been able to do this is because we already had the organizational structure in place. We’ve been developing it over the last twenty-two years,” Ben-Meir continued.
Over HAF’s years of sustainable development work in Morocco, it has cultivated and maintained a mutually trusting relationship with the Ministry of the Interior. HAF believes it essential to work in tandem with all related agencies of the government to achieve long-lasting success.
Hassan, a HAF Volunteer working with communities, spoke with a mother who had lost her home and all her possessions. She was lucky enough to escape with her child in her arms. She said, “It is our faith that protects us from despair. We say, Alhamdulillah, which means “Thank God”. We feel lucky to have what we have left. There is always something to be grateful for.”
HAF is grateful to be in a position to serve.