In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake of 8 September, SOS Children's Villages in Morocco has mobilized to support families and children, especially those who have or are at risk of losing the care of their parents.
The protection of children is of utmost importance, and efforts are being made to ensure their safety and well-being. This includes the establishment of temporary alternative care for unaccompanied or separated children.
"SOS Children's Villages Morocco is assessing the impact on children and their families. This involves identifying children who have lost parental care or are at risk of losing it, as well as single-parent and vulnerable families,” said Mrs. Samya El Mousti, National Director of SOS Children's Villages Morocco.
Earthquakes can generate fear, anxiety, and potential post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) in children. A supportive environment and early intervention are essential to help children cope with these psychological effects.
As one of its intervention focuses, SOS Children's Villages Morocco is providing psychological support to children, addressing the traumatic experience they have endured.
SOS Children’s Villages has a children’s village in Ait Ourir, near Marrakesh, where the organization has worked for nearly 40 years. Ait Ourir is some 60 kilometers from the mountainous region worst hit by Friday’s quake. In the children’s village in Agadir, about 300 km away, tremors were also felt.
"The children were very scared when they felt the tremors, but fortunately, the SOS Children's Villages in Ait Ourir and Agadir are well-built, and the infrastructure in Ait Ourir has not suffered major damage,” said Mr. Amine Demnati, President of SOS Children's Villages Morocco.
Lorries of food, clothes and blankets
To help the children and families affected and support the government's action, two lorries of food and blankets were handed over to the Mohammed V Foundation, which is managing support to victims.
With the collected funds, SOS Children's Villages Morocco will implement an emergency programme to provide cash and in-kind assistance, including food and hygiene kits, to vulnerable households to meet their immediate needs while supporting local markets.
In collaboration with local authorities, the emergency response team plans to assist in rebuilding family homes and damaged infrastructure in the Haouz and Souss regions.
Prioritizing every child’s best interest and needs, SOS Children’s Villages Morocco plans to implement family strengthening and reunification services.
In the Marrakesh region, SOS Children's Villages is supporting 10 foster families, 11 children in foster care, 89 children and young people in the village of Aït Ourir and 65 young people in group homes.