Deadly Morocco earthquake sparks solidarity in France

Deadly Morocco earthquake sparks solidarity in France

In the white room given to the town hall of Châtillon, a village south of Paris, twelve women were hard at work on Sunday preparing the donations that did not stop pouring in. Clothing, tents and blankets, too. like medicine and food, they gradually filled the large plastic containers that were always ready to receive them.

With the Moroccan diaspora in France estimated at 1.5 million people – about 670,000 of whom are dual citizens – the shock waves of the earthquake were felt strongly on the other side of the Mediterranean.

“It’s the country I was born in, and I grew up there, obviously that affected me,” explained Fedoua in a soft voice, his arms carrying bags full of clothes.

The municipal hall in the town of Châtillon in the south of Paris has a campaign to donate to the people affected by the earthquake in Morocco. © Grégoire Sauvage, FRANCE 24

“I was very shocked. I think it took 24 hours to understand what happened,” said Latifah, a woman in her 30s from northern Morocco. Since he came here with his family to make a donation, he decided to give a few hours of his time to the volunteers who will be overseen by the success of their donation campaign.

“It makes my heart so happy – everyone has come together for a good cause,” he said.

Anticipating winter needs

Beyond the Moroccan community, many French people also feel a sense of solidarity with the country, which was France’s protectorate from 1912 to 1956. One of them is Boubou, who traveled from the neighboring town of Meudon to bring men’s clothes and men’s clothing. medicine.

“It was important for me to support people in need,” said the 31-year-old. “I have no connection with Morocco, but I think in these times we are all connected.”

read moreSpecial edition on the earthquake in Morocco: rescuers race to find survivors more than 48 hours after the earthquake.

Dounia Hannach is the young woman at the center of this urgent donation drive. In 2018 he founded the organization Abajad, which helps people find work by teaching targeted French language courses. With the Abajad office in Morocco, Hannach hopes to be able to quickly bring the donations collected to France.

Dounia Hannach, the founder of the Abajad organization, oversees a donation campaign organized in the town of Châtillon in the south of Paris. © Grégoire Sauvage, FRANCE 24

“What we need is winter clothing, blankets and tents, because it’s the people who live in the mountains who are affected, and soon it will be cold,” said Hannach. “So we’re trying to estimate winter demand.”

“More and more people are asking if they can make financial donations, because they can’t afford to go,” he said. “So now I’ve made an emergency fund.”

Hannach plans to organize a second donation drive in the next few days.

Millions of euros in financial aid

As the number of deaths from the earthquake continues to rise, initiatives like Hannach are growing everywhere in France, with donations organized by town halls and local associations, garage sales to raise money for those affected and emergency funds are requested through social media.

Several French charities called on the general public on Saturday to show their kindness, among them the anti-poverty non-profit Secours Populaire (Popular Help) and the philanthropy network la Fondation de France, which immediately announced the collection of 250,000 euros to help those affected by the earthquake.

read moreMorocco earthquake: Residents line up to help by donating blood

Several French cities and regions have also pledged financial or financial support to Morocco. The mayor of Marseille has offered support to the coastal city’s firefighters. And Valérie Pécresse, president of the council of Île-de-France (Paris region), pledged half a million euros in aid.

On Saturday, France’s foreign ministry called for foreign funds to support the authorities’ efforts. The fund, administered by the Center for Crisis and Support Services, allows local governments to provide emergency disaster relief to those affected by humanitarian disasters around the world. The minister said that many authorities have already come to them offering assistance worth about 2 million dollars.

This article is translated from the original French.

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