The US Agency for International Development (USAID) is seeking to fund eight socio-economic initiatives

US commits more than $200,000 to Al-Haouz in the wake of Morocco earthquake

AFP/FETHI BELAID - Casas destruidas en el pueblo de Imi NTala el 17 de septiembre de 2023, tras el potente terremoto de magnitud 6,8
AFP/FETHI BELAID - Houses destroyed in the village of Imi NTala on 17 September 2023, following a powerful 6.8 magnitude earthquake.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has earmarked more than $200,000 for eight socio-economic initiatives in the Al-Haouz region, which was hard hit by the earthquake in Morocco on 8 September. 

  1. Aid provided after the earthquake
  2. International assistance

The powerful earthquake killed some 3,000 people, injured more than 5,000 and caused extensive damage to hundreds of thousands of buildings and infrastructures in several enclaves such as Al-Haouz, Marrakech, Taroudant, Chichaoua, Ouarzazate and the High Atlas region in general. 

Aid provided after the earthquake

In the face of the great tragedy, King Mohammed VI immediately led the working sessions to coordinate the rescue of victims and emergency work, and later to organise the economic and material aid provided for those affected, with the presence of members of the government led by Aziz Akhannouch. 

Morocco even set up a special earthquake fund that raised more than 10 billion dirhams ($1 billion) to rebuild areas devastated by the quake. 

REUTERS/HANNAH McKAY - Un hombre camina cerca de la Mezquita de Tinmel, que fue dañada por el mortal terremoto, en Tinmel, Marruecos, el 11 de septiembre de 2023
REUTERS/HANNAH McKAY - A man walks near the Tinmel Mosque, which was damaged by the deadly earthquake, in Tinmel, Morocco, September 11, 2023

International assistance

International assistance also came from countries such as Spain, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and the United Kingdom, which helped with emergency and rescue work on the ground. A number of nations and entities of all kinds also offered support in various fields.

Now, USAID has made the $200,000 available, in this case for the Al-Haouz region. With a budget of exactly 2 million dirhams ($200,803), the projects will focus on employment, entrepreneurship, cultural animation and women's empowerment, as reported by media outlets such as Morocco World News. 

The projects will cover various municipalities in the region with the challenge of supporting civil society in the area, as explained by Juan Carlos Rodríguez, acting director of USAID.

AFP/PHILLIPPE LÓPEZ - Edificios dañados tras el mortal terremoto de magnitud 6,8 del 8 de septiembre en la aldea montañosa de Moulay Brahim en la provincia de al-Haouz, en el centro de Marruecos
AFP/PHILLIPPE LÓPEZ - Buildings damaged after the deadly 6.8 magnitude earthquake in the mountainous village of Moulay Brahim in the central Moroccan province of al-Haouz on 8 September

For his part, Ahmed Jazouli, Director of the Inclusive Economic and Social Development Programme in the Marrakech-Safi region, expressed his satisfaction with the launch of the proposal and stressed that this aid promotes the citizens of the region and allows them to develop various activities to recover from the effects of the earthquake. 

Jazouli himself indicated that these cooperative efforts are very important to support those affected and enable the recovery of the damaged areas. 

Sawsan Etayai, deputy director of the programme, also welcomed the funding initiative as support for those affected by the terrible earthquake in September.

The Programme for Inclusive Economic and Social Development in the Marrakech-Safi Region is a USAID-funded programme that is part of the Morocco-US cooperation strategy for 2022-2027. The Programme seeks to support municipalities in the region to foster their governance and improve economic opportunities there. 

This is yet another sign of the close cooperation that the Moroccan kingdom maintains with the US giant, which considers the North African country an essential ally in North Africa. 

Morocco is a key partner for the United States, especially in security matters in order to maintain stability in North Africa and the Sahel. The two nations have conducted many joint military exercises in cooperation with other nations to combat terrorism and criminal activity in the region. 

It should be recalled that the United States has already taken a very important diplomatic step towards Morocco by recognising the Moroccan sovereignty of Western Sahara, a disputed territory for which the Moroccan kingdom is proposing a formula of broad autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty with a view to resolving the Sahrawi dispute, while respecting UN resolutions. This follows in the wake of the Abraham Accords, which have allowed the establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and several Arab countries, under the sponsorship of the United States, with a view to pacifying and developing the Middle East as much as possible.