BRISMES Campaigns is devastated by the destruction in the aftermath of the Friday evening 8 September earthquake in Morocco. Our thoughts are with our friends and colleagues and all who have been impacted. We offer our deepest condolences for those you have lost, and hope you are reunited with missing loved ones soon.
Thousands of people have died, are dying as we speak, or are badly injured. Many more are homeless and severely traumatised. The regions of Ouarzazate, El Haouz, Chichawa, and Taroudant belong to a part of Morocco that still carries the scars of colonial underdevelopment and postcolonial marginalization. The towns hit by the earthquake are remote and poor. They get very wet, cold and snowy in the winter. Though the places in and around the epicentre are hard to reach, in numerous devastating social media messages university lecturers and school teachers have reported the loss of their students, of homes and schools that disappeared, and the destruction and death of complete villages in the Atlas mountain region. The race against the clock is real, the number of casualties will rise, and efforts made in the aftermath will be crucial.
Dozens of initiatives have emerged to collect donations, and several colleagues in the UK work with local NGOs and community leaders. Driss Ksikes, Director of Economia, LCI Research centre in Rabat told us, "Teachers have announced that they've lost all their students in the villages. Teachers from across the country are banding together to help, in coordination with local organisations." Rachida Azough, who coordinates Moustaqbel's Education Support Unit, notes, "We know the families of our students, so reconstruction is not that complicated for us. We give the funds directly and they do what is necessary with it. People need a roof over their heads. We know that the aftermath, the reconstruction phase, is the moment when most aid ends, and we're ready to help our students rebuild their lives."
We encourage all BRISMES members to contribute to relief efforts, and to extend support to affected colleagues at their universities. Whilst we cannot endorse any particular organisations running relief campaigns, members who are looking for ways to help those affected may wish to find out more about the organisations below, including those supporting educators and their students.