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09.10.2023

Morocco Earthquake: Project HOPE Responding

Washington, DC (10 September 2023) – Project HOPE – the global health and humanitarian aid organization – is responding to the deadly 6.8 magnitude earthquake that struck in Morocco near Marrakech late Friday evening in partnership with our long-time partners SAMU, a Spanish medical emergency organization, who are providing search and rescue operations on the ground near the earthquake’s epicenter.

SAMU is now operating on the ground in Adassil, a village southwest of Marrakech, with a team of 19 people and six vehicles. The convoy includes two Advanced Life Support (ALS) ambulances from SAMU Tangier where the organization is headquartered in Morocco, as well as a surgical rescue unit, three all-terrain vehicles, five doctors, two nurses, eight Health Emergency Technicians, and four rescue specialists accompanied by two dogs. SAMU’s honorary president and founder, Dr. Carlos Álvarez Leiva, who was in Marrakech at the time of the earthquake, is also with the team to oversee the response.

“The earthquake that struck Morocco late Friday night has already claimed over 2,000 lives, but search and rescue efforts are still very much in the initial stages. Every hour counts to reach survivors, so we are highly concerned about the more rural villages and communities outside of Marrakech that remain inaccessible to search and rescue operations,” said Arlan Fuller, Project HOPE’s Director of Emergency Preparedness and Response. “We are working in close coordination with our partners to assess where we can best fill in any gaps and support the needs of those who have been impacted.”

“Because we are still in the initial days following the earthquake, we recognize that there is much still to be assessed to understand the scale and scope of the humanitarian crisis and the gaps that may exist in the response,” said Chris Skopec, Project HOPE’s Executive Vice President of Global Health. “As always, our priority is to address the most urgent needs, particularly for the communities that are most vulnerable to disasters of this nature, as we continue to respect local capacities, customs, and norms.”

Project HOPE and SAMU have jointly responded to numerous global crises, including the earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria to support search and rescue operations. Project HOPE has remained in the region since, supporting longer-term recovery efforts including mental health needs, shelter containers for displaced health workers, clean drinking water, and mobile medical units.

Interviews with emergency response experts are available upon request. For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact: media@ProjectHOPE.org.

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