ontario news watch

‘Complete destruction’: Canadians mobilize to help Morocco after earthquake

MONTREAL — A Canadian aid worker in Morocco says he’s seen scenes of “complete destruction” in the wake of a 6.8-magnitude earthquake that has killed more than 2,900 people and left many more injured and homeless.

Hassaan Sheikh of Islamic Relief Canada says his team is distributing blankets and mattresses in villages near the quake’s epicentre — about 70 kilometres south of the city of Marrakech — as bodies are being pulled from the rubble of flattened homes.

Sheikh says that in the short term Moroccans need food, blankets and hygiene products, while in the longer term they will need their homes, roads and critical infrastructure rebuilt.

Ottawa says it hasn’t received a request for assistance from Morocco, but many Canadians are launching efforts to help the North African country as it grapples with the devastating aftermath of Friday’s quake.

In Montreal, home to a large Moroccan community, mosques and businesses have started fundraisers and collection drives, while a group has come together online to organize donations.

The Quebec government has pledged $1.5 million for organizations working in Morocco, while major charities, such as Islamic Relief Canada and the Canadian Red Cross, have launched fundraising drives.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 13, 2023.

The Canadian Press