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Solidarity following the earthquake in Morocco

19 September 2023

UCU is devastated by the destruction in the aftermath of the Friday evening 8 September earthquake in Morocco. Our thoughts are with our friends and colleagues and all who have been impacted. We offer our deepest condolences for those you have lost, and hope you are reunited with missing loved ones soon.

Thousands of people have died, are dying as we speak, or are badly injured. Many more are homeless and severely traumatised. The regions of Ouarzazate, El Haouz, Chichawa, and Taroudant belong to the most deprived parts of Morocco. At BMSC, we are especially sad because the region still carries the scars of colonial underdevelopment and postcolonial marginalization and to see how structural and deliberate infrastructural negligence has lead to many more additional deaths. The resilience of the people is inspiring, teachers and students across the country have joint forces. Driss Ksikes, Director of Economia, LCI Research centre in Rabat told us, "Teachers have announced that they've lost all their students in the villages. Teachers from across the country are banding together to help, in coordination with local organisations."

The towns hit by the earthquake are remote and get very wet, cold and snowy in the winter. Though the places in and around the epicentre are hard to reach, in numerous devastating social media messages people have reported the loss of their students, of homes and schools that disappeared, and the destruction and death of complete villages in the Atlas mountain region. The race against the clock is real, the number of casualties will rise, and efforts made in the aftermath will be crucial.

Dozens of initiatives have emerged to collect donations, and several colleagues in the UK work with local NGOs and community leaders. Rachida Azough, who coordinates Moustaqbel's Education Support Unit for marginalised female students, notes, "We know the families of our students, so reconstruction is not that complicated for us. We give the funds directly and they do what is necessary with it. People need a roof over their heads. We know that the aftermath, the reconstruction phase, is the moment when most aid ends, and we're ready to help our students rebuild their lives."

We encourage all our trade union comrades, colleagues, friends and families to contribute to relief efforts, right now and in the aftermath, and to extend support to those affected around them. Whilst we cannot endorse any particular organisations running relief campaigns, if you are looking for ways to help those affected, you could start with the organisations below:

In solidarity,

UCU Black Members' Standing Committee

(This message was adapted from a statement issued by Miriyam Aouragh for BRISMES

Last updated: 19 September 2023