UW Combined Fund Drive

September 11, 2023

Morocco earthquake: How to help

A resident navigates through the rubble on Saturday following a 6.8-magnitude quake in Marrakesh, Morocco. Fadel Senna/AFP via Getty Images

Nearly 2,500 people are dead and hundreds more injured–many critically–after a powerful magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck Morocco in the High Atlas Mountains about 50 miles south of Marrakech late on Friday, September 8. 

The disaster is the strongest earthquake in the area in more than a century in a region with a history of powerful earthquakes. The U.S. Geological Survey called serious earthquakes in Morocco “uncommon but not unexpected.”

Many homes and buildings in the region were already vulnerable, including structures made of mud brick dating back to the country’s French colonization era, and unable to withstand the shaking.

In some small villages near the quake’s epicenter in the High Atlas Mountains, half of the structures were reduced to sand and rubble. The other half are uninhabitable.

The United Nations estimates some 300,000 people across the region have been affected, with many thousands sleeping on the streets in open air. Amid widespread electricity and telephone blackouts, survivors are running low on food and water. The area has already endured a prolonged drought, and many wells and water pumps in more rural areas were damaged or destroyed in the quake.

Search and rescue operations, complicated by the region’s geography and blocked or damaged roads, are underway with armed forces and international aid teams. Recovery efforts have also been impeded by aftershocks sending boulders plunging into mountain roadways.

Scenes from Morocco: A deadly earthquake strikes (New York Times)

The affected region is in dire need of medical and other disaster relief supplies

Many international UWCFD nonprofit organizations have begun mobilizing their response teams. The need is overwhelming and growing fast. 

Consider making a one-time gift or setting up monthly payroll deduction through the UWCFD to one of our member organizations actively responding to the crisis:

Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) (charity code 0315935): International humanitarian organization MSF has mobilized in Morocco to respond to the medical needs of earthquake victims. The organization is currently treating patients in Marrakech and is coordinating emergency medical kits and additional support to health agencies and other facilities.

International Red Cross International Services (charity code 0338058) helps vulnerable individuals and communities around the world to prevent, prepare for, and respond to disasters, complex humanitarian emergencies, and life-threatening health conditions.

UNICEF USA‘s (charity code 0315489) medical and nutrition teams are working to provide first aid for those who are injured. UNICEF is also providing critical aid, including kitchen equipment, hygiene supplies including soap, detergent, towels, sanitary pads and water buckets, warm clothes, shoes and blankets, as well as tents and tarpaulins.

CARE (charity code 0315522): CARE’s Rapid Response Team is deploying experts who will provide food, temporary shelter, and vital supplies to those affected by the earthquake.

Project Hope (charity code 0316050): Project HOPE is a global health and humanitarian aid organization that connects healthcare providers to communities around the world to address immediate and long-term health needs. Through its global emergency response teams, the organization is providing medical supplies and aid to communities in Morocco.

International Medical Corps (charity code 1479246) is sending an Advance Emergency Medical Team to perform an assessment, is in communication with the World Health Organization (WHO) and stands ready to deploy an Emergency Medical Field Unit (EMT Type 1 Fixed) as needed. We also are working with partners to support urgent relief and recovery needs.

Save the Children (charity code 0315475): has teams on the ground supporting earthquake victims and assessing the impact of lost homes, buildings, and essential infrastructure. The organization will primarily provide affected children with access to food, shelter, and warm clothing.

OXFAM (charity code 0316360) Oxfam is a global organization that fights inequality to end poverty and injustice. We offer lifesaving support in times of crisis and advocate for economic justice, gender equality, and climate action. 

See more international aid organizations on the UWCFD disaster relief page

Consume information wisely and research organizations before you donate

Misinformation spreads quickly during mass tragedies: To stay informed, follow and rely on firsthand sources, including local journalists and reporters in the area, and avoid sharing information that has not been verified.

All UWCFD-member nonprofit organizations are vetted by the Washington Secretary of State Office, so you can rest assured your contributions will be directed where you intend. For a non-UWCFD organization, you may want to do some research to make sure it is reputable. Sites like Charity Navigator and Guidestar grade nonprofits based on transparency and effectiveness.