Canadian Islamic relief sends aids to Morocco after Quake
The Islamic Relief Canada, along with the federal and provincial charities, have been sending humanitarian aids to the Quake-stricken people in Morocco.
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Hassaan Sheikh, a Vancouver-based aid worker with Islamic Relief Canada, says that as his team distributes blankets and mattresses in Moroccan villages, they are told about bodies being discovered under the rubble of homes flattened by last week's earthquake.
Sheikh says the "complete destruction" from the 6.8-magnitude earthquake makes clear how much help the country will need to recover.
Federal and provincial governments, charities and Moroccan Canadians are mobilizing to help the North African country, which has reported more than 2,900 deaths and several thousand injuries after the earthquake struck south of the city of Marrakech last Friday.
On Wednesday, federal International Development Minister Ahmed Hussen said the government would match donations — up to $3 million — made to the Canadian Red Cross's earthquake relief fund over the next two weeks.
The money will help the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement distribute life-saving items, such as food, water, cash and vouchers, as well as deliver sanitation and health services, according to Global Affairs Canada.
Another $2 million in federal assistance will go toward immediate needs.
Sheikh said the most vulnerable villages are built directly on the side of mountains, with homes of mud and brick. In one village he visited on his second day in Morocco, 90 per cent of the population had died.
"It was just levelled, almost," he said. "You know when you see a landslide, that's kind of what it looks like."
The Quebec government has pledged $1.5 million for organizations working in Morocco, while several major charities have launched funding drives. Islamic Relief Canada collected about $40,000 in the first hour of fundraising, says communications and government relations manager Miranda Gallo.
In Montreal, home to a large Moroccan community, citizens, mosques and businesses have launched grassroots efforts to help. Ould Atigh, who owns the North African restaurant La Khaima, said he organized a couscous fundraiser for Wednesday night as a way to feel less helpless.
According to the aid worker with Islamic Relief Canada. the organization is also starting to think about the longer-term rebuilding.