The Moroccan kingdom has asked Spain, the United Kingdom, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates for help

Spain and three other countries collaborate in rescue work after the earthquake in Morocco

AFP/FETHI BELAID - Una vista general muestra los daños y la destrucción en la aldea de Tiksit, al sur de Adassil, el 10 de septiembre de 2023, dos días después de que un devastador terremoto de magnitud 6,8 sacudiera el país
AFP/FETHI BELAID - A general view shows the damage and destruction in the village of Tiksit, south of Adassil, on 10 September 2023, two days after a devastating 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck the country

Spain, the United Kingdom, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are the four countries that are working on the ground to help with humanitarian emergency and victim rescue tasks following the strong earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter Scale that struck Morocco in the early hours of Friday morning, leaving 2,681 people dead and more than 2,500 injured.  

The region of Al Haouz and other neighbouring areas such as Taroudant and Marrakech were the worst affected areas with the most deaths and injuries after the earthquake, and it was the area where work began in the first instance, both by the troops of the Moroccan Royal Armed Forces, under the high instructions of King Mohammed VI, and by the units sent by these collaborating nations.  

Morocco did not find it necessary to request assistance from other countries. The formula applied is that of useful and necessary aid at any given moment, as in the case of this earthquake. 

PHOTO/UME - España envió 56 socorristas y cuatro perros de búsqueda a Marruecos tras el potente terremoto que mató a más de 2.000 personas tras recibir una solicitud formal de ayuda de Rabat
PHOTO/UME - Spain sent 56 rescuers and four search dogs to Morocco following the powerful earthquake that killed more than 2,000 people after receiving a formal request for help from Rabat

Spain, as a neighbouring country and a great ally of Morocco, with which it currently enjoys very good diplomatic relations, has set up a well-organised and coordinated mechanism with the Moroccan kingdom. For example, teams of firefighters from Spanish cities such as Madrid and Huelva and even members of the Military Emergency Unit arrived in Morocco with the work area assigned in advance, with a total team of more than 80 people.  

Spain has sent 86 troops, a team from the Military Emergency Unit (UME) made up of 56 soldiers and four dogs that took off from the Zaragoza Air Base to Marrakech and a second contingent with 30 members of the Special Emergency and Immediate Response Unit of the Community of Madrid (ERICAM) and four dogs from the specialised search and rescue team.  

An emergency team from the English West Midlands also travelled to Morocco on Sunday. "There are a lot of people who need help and a lot of people are waiting for us," Syed Muhammad Faisal Sami, director of the UK branch of the Faizan Global Relief Foundation, told the BBC. 

"The Moroccan authorities have responded favourably, during this specific phase, to offers of support from friendly countries such as Spain, Qatar, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates, which had offered to mobilise search and rescue teams," an official statement from the Moroccan interior ministry said. 

AFP FOTO/HO/X CUENTA DEL MINISTRO DEL INTERIOR DE QATARS KHALIFA BIN HAMAD @KH - Miembros de un equipo de búsqueda y rescate dentro de las Fuerzas de Seguridad Interna de Qatar acompañando a la ayuda en un avión que se dirige desde Doha hasta el Marruecos azotado por el terremoto
AFP PHOTO/HO/X ACCOUNT OF QATARS INTERIOR MINISTER KHALIFA BIN HAMAD @KH - Members of a search and rescue team within the Qatari Internal Security Forces accompanying aid on a plane heading from Doha to quake-hit Morocco

Useful and necessary help for good coordination

The King of Morocco himself explained that massive aid is not the best option, being preferable to aid that is useful, effective and well coordinated and with a meticulous assessment of the specific needs on the ground by those in charge of each affected area. Rabat justified its decision on the basis of the "precise assessment" made of the needs following the earthquake and "bearing in mind that a lack of coordination in such situations could be counterproductive". 

Following the earthquake in the Al-Haouz region, Mohamed VI chaired a working session with the civilian and military leaders of the institutions involved, at which he expressed "the Kingdom of Morocco's most sincere thanks to the many brotherly and friendly countries that have expressed their solidarity with the Moroccan people in this difficult situation, and several of which have expressed their readiness to provide aid and assistance in these special circumstances".

In this vein, the North African country did not ask for help from other nations that could have helped in its case, such as the United States or Germany, with which it enjoys very good diplomatic relations, or even France under the idea that useful and necessary aid is the best for good coordination. 

REUTERS/NACHO DOCE - Los equipos de emergencia colocan un cuerpo en un vehículo, tras un mortal terremoto, en Amizmiz, Marruecos, el 10 de septiembre de 2023
REUTERS/NACHO DOCE - Emergency crews place a body in a vehicle after a deadly earthquake in Amizmiz, Morocco, September 10, 2023

The earthquake in Morocco has reduced several enclaves, such as the village of Moulay Brahim, 50 kilometres from the epicentre of the quake, to ruins, and has plunged the nation into utter grief and shock. Faced with the seriousness of what happened, King Mohammed VI took action and set up a working committee with civilian and military leaders. After assessing the situation and mobilising the Royal Armed Forces and rescue teams to provide assistance and aid, the Moroccan state also asked Spain, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and the United Kingdom for help. 

REUTERS/HANNAH McKAYAR - Un miembro de los equipos de rescate participa en una operación de búsqueda y rescate, tras un mortal terremoto en Ouirgane, Marruecos, el 10 de septiembre de 2023
REUTERS/HANNAH McKAYAR - A rescue team member takes part in a search and rescue operation after a deadly earthquake in Ouirgane, Morocco September 10, 2023

The Moroccan government accepted humanitarian assistance from these four countries, with which it enjoys very good diplomatic relations. Spain has already deployed firefighters and rescue teams to help in the search for survivors. Meanwhile, other countries were prepared in case a request for Moroccan help arrived, as in the case of the United States. "We're waiting to hear from the Moroccan government to see how we can help and where, but we're ready," US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told CNN. 

Rescue and relief efforts are not easy in some difficult-to-access areas, such as those in the Atlas Mountains, and the expert work of these international rescue units is invaluable.

Humanitarian workers face the challenge of reaching the most affected villages in the High Atlas, a rugged mountain range where settlements are often remote and where many houses collapsed.