Morocco Earthquake: The Impact of Selective International Help and the Need for Increased Assistance

The recent earthquake in Morocco has prompted offers of assistance from countries around the world. However, the Moroccan government has chosen to accept only limited international help, leading to questions and controversies. While countries like Spain, the UK, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates have been allowed to send search-and-rescue teams, other offers have been overlooked. This decision has raised concerns about sovereignty, geopolitics, and the effectiveness of the current response efforts.

One of the main reasons behind the selective acceptance of aid is strained relations between Morocco and certain countries, such as France. President Emmanuel Macron’s efforts to strengthen ties with Algeria have led to tensions with Morocco, and this has influenced the decision-making process. The French authorities have emphasized that the controversy over their exclusion is unfounded, stating that it is ultimately Morocco’s decision whether to accept their help.

Authorities in Morocco argue that maintaining control and avoiding a potentially chaotic situation are the driving factors behind their decision. They believe that coordinating assistance from various countries and organizations could be counterproductive. However, critics argue that this approach is misguided, especially considering the urgent need for aid in remote areas. Maati Mounjib, an activist and government critic, stresses the importance of prioritizing help over concerns of sovereignty and national pride. He points out that even developed countries accept outside assistance during disasters.

Hossam Elsharkawi, the Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), acknowledges the local response’s efforts but argues that more outside help will be required. The IFRC is ready to deploy specialist teams to assist in the recovery efforts. Elsharkawi emphasizes that based on their experience, international assistance will be crucial in addressing the growing needs and exhaustion of local resources.

As the situation unfolds, it is evident that the decision to accept limited international help has provoked debate. Morocco’s emphasis on sovereignty and control needs to be weighed against the urgency and scale of the disaster. Balancing geopolitical dynamics and the need to save lives remains a challenge. It is important for the international community to continue offering assistance and for Morocco to assess the long-term impact of its decision. Ultimately, prioritizing the well-being of affected communities should be the foremost consideration, regardless of political considerations.