Sunday, July 21, 2024

Morocco earthquake: In tragedy there is an opportunity to implement aid diplomacy

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September 8, 2023 is a day that will remain forever in the memory of the Moroccan people. At around 11 p.m., an earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale struck the Al Haouz province, southwest of Marrakesh, destroying entire homes and leveling them to the ground and killing more than 2,900 people. As often happens, in the wake of such catastrophic natural events, so-called aid diplomacy is launched: that is, foreign countries make themselves available to send aid, in the form of rescue teams or basic necessities, to the affected areas.

One aspect that is often underestimated is that these catastrophic events can overshadow geopolitical tensions between countries.. An example of this is what happened in February of this year, after the horrific earthquake that struck Turkey. On that occasion, the first country to send aid was Greece, which acted quickly despite previous political tensions with Istanbul. Like Turkey, Morocco also enjoyed the openness of many countries that expressed their willingness to support the Moroccan government at this dramatic moment. Among these countries is Algeria, which has not established diplomatic relations with Rabat for decades due to the conflict in Western Sahara. Despite the friction between the two Maghreb countries, Algeria immediately expressed its solidarity. First by opening its airspace (closed since September 2021) to allow humanitarian aid to reach Morocco, and then by providing rescue teams and humanitarian aid to Rabat.

Among the countries that offered to help Morocco were France and Italy. Paris will be ready to allocate five million euros to non-governmental organizations operating in Moroccan territory, while our Interior Minister Piantidosi announced that specialized fire brigades are ready to intervene at any time in Morocco.

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However, the Moroccan government has so far only accepted assistance from four countries: the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, the United Kingdom, and Spain.. Morocco’s rejection of French assistance is considered remarkable, given the strong relations between this European and African country. Against the backdrop of non-acceptance, the specter of conflict could loom in the OPEC again. However, according to statements by the Moroccan government, there appear to be not geopolitical but rather logistical reasons behind the decision not to receive further foreign aid. .

We will see in the next few days whether Morocco will accept humanitarian diplomacy, which is an important toolNot only in times of crisis, but above all to reconnect and consolidate all the relationships that organize the life of states in the international system.

Jacopo Cassini – European Merit Student

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