NEW YORK -- International aid groups have mobilized in Morocco where a 6.8 magnitude earthquake Friday night has killed 2,681 and injured more than 2,500. Donors, both big and small, are also mobilizing to support those relief efforts.
Experts say the most direct way to provide aid to those affected in the city of Marrakech and the rural areas in the Atlas Mountains is to donate to organizations that have operations already on the ground in Morocco. That takes on additional importance because so far the Moroccan government has accepted governmental aid from only four nations — Spain, Qatar, Britain and the United Arab Emirates — as it tries to avoid a “counterproductive” lack of coordination.
“We are just seeing the scale and severity of disasters from natural hazards increasing and that is putting a drain on resources — both financial and human resources — and also, I'll be honest, empathy,” said Patricia McIlreavy, CEO of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. “When you talk about what you can do, my No. 1 thing is: Remember. Keep them in your thoughts and look for ways to help them.”
Recovery from the earthquake could take years, McIlreavy said and encouraged people to consider longer-term, unrestricted giving rather than rushing to give immediately when conditions are still rapidly changing.
Here are some groups who have responded and are looking for additional support:
— The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) quickly released $1.1 million from its Disaster Response Emergency Fund to support Moroccan Red Crescent relief efforts in the country. “We expect this initial release of money to make a difference on the ground," said Dr. Hossam Elsharkawi, IFRC's regional director of Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement. "It will be used to buy essential supplies locally in Morocco. The people in the Moroccan Red Crescent know their communities best, and know best what is needed.”
— World Central Kitchen is teaming with Moroccan volunteers to provide food and water in the remote areas hardest hit by the earthquake. However, World Central Kitchen founder Jose Andres said the group's helicopters are doing double duty, dropping off supplies in those areas and evacuating injured people on their return trips.
— Doctors Without Borders has sent 10 staff members to Morocco to assess what the local hospital needs are and how the organization can support the Moroccan government with supplies or logistics.
— CARE, which has been working in Morocco since 2008 to help people get access to basic services, has launched the Morocco Earthquake Emergency Fund, which it says will prioritize providing women and girls, youth, and disadvantaged groups food and shelter.
— GlobalGiving's Morocco Earthquake Relief Fund had raised nearly $500,000 by Monday afternoon to provide food, water and shelter to those who have lost their homes in the earthquake, as well as supporting long-term recovery efforts.
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