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Al-Haouz quake victims march to protest against exclusion from financial aid as extreme weather devastated temporary structures

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Hundreds of locals from Talat N’Yaaqoub, a region significantly affected by the devastating September 8 earthquake, took part in a night march, protesting against their exclusion from receiving quake aid allocated to the tragedy victims.

The march, which began on foot on Thursday evening, made its way to the Marrakech provincial headquarters after stopping at the Al-Haouz regional office and Tahanaout command center.

“Several families from our region have been excluded from receiving the support provided by the King for quake victims, even if we reside in the most heavily affected area,” said Abdellatif Ait Ibrahim Ouali, one of the citizens participating in the March, in a statement to Hespress AR.

He added that the authorities “are now asking us to return to homes that previously asked us to evacuate due to the danger it poses to our lives.”

Ouali revealed that there are around 700 individuals from Ijoukak village and other surrounding areas taking part in the march, highlighting that they are “currently heading from Tahanaout to Marrakech.”

“All those who took part today did not receive the support announced by the King. Instead, it seems that people who don’t even live in the heart of the earthquake-affected area are the ones benefiting,” grumbled Rachid Ait Imhnad Ouali, another quake victim participating in the march.

He went on and said, “All we want to know is the reason behind our exclusion. We had a meeting last Wednesday with the regional leader, who was supposed to explain his decision, but he put the meeting off,” stating that “the authorities seem to be avoiding us.”

Ouali emphasized that “the victims are requesting rights to understand why some received quake aid while others were left deprived,” adding that all the protesters are currently living in temporary shelters because their homes were seriously damaged by the quake.

“There are two categories of protesters here; the first category consists of non-residents who had their requests—to benefit from the MAD 2,500 aid allocated to the affected families—denied by the committees for this reason,” explained Abdelrahim Ait Oubella.

He added, “This category, as confirmed by the committee conducting on-site research, comprises individuals whose homes were found to be undamaged and deemed safe. However, these people couldn’t fully embrace the idea of returning.”

“1280 families in Talat N’Yaqoub benefited from the 2500 MAD support, 640 in Ighil, 700 in Aghbar, and 900 in Ijoukak,” reported Oubella.

He said that the 2500 MAD support is based on households, with only the householder receiving it.

“For instance, a married father and married son living in the same house cannot both benefit from the aid, only the householder can receive it. Also, when two siblings are living in an inherited house, only one of them can benefit from the quake aid,” explained the same speaker.

Fatima Kenzi, an elderly participant in the march, did not receive the financial support intended for earthquake victims, despite her husband and daughter being critically affected by the quake. She complained about others receiving the aid while her family has not.

“They told us that you are not eligible to receive the financial aid,” added in a statement to Hespress Ar.

Said Ait Chajiae from the Ighil community complained about the local authorities’ decision to deny them receiving the financial aid allocated by the King and he added that they cannot return to their homes damaged by the quake.

He said that they are now on their way to Marrakech prefecture and promised to proceed to the capital if the authorities fail to consider their demands.

In addition to exclusion from promised aid, a second group of rural quake survivors are suffering from dire weather conditions.

Extreme weather in Morocco has left many homeless quake victims without refuge, after strong winds and rains ruined their temporary shelters, where they had been staying since their homes were devastated by the natural disaster.

Tents, crisis shelters and other makeshift emergency structures could not stand in the face of recent climate conditions across the Kingdom.

On Wednesday, some of the modular schools installed in the quake-stricken area in the Al Haouz were also destroyed by strong an high winds.

Heavy rains also affected displaced victims’ makeshift camps in quake-hit Amizmiz.

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