Particularly in the mountainous and landlocked High Atlas region, with almost 3,000 dead to date, several thousand injured, and thousands of people facing precarious conditions. The challenges facing the population include food shortages, lack of access to drinking water, and increasing pressure on essential services such as healthcare. The most vulnerable, including children, the elderly and the disabled, are particularly hard hit. Since the earthquake struck, our teams and local partners have been responding to urgent needs, like medical care and mental health support, particularly those living in remote and mountainous areas that were hit hard by the earthquake. So far, DotW has provided 1010 consultations for mental health support, in the form of individual and group consultations in 28 heavily impacted villages.
While DotW had expanded its humanitarian response to include earthquake relief, we were already present in Morocco since 2013, providing much needed aid to migrants in the country. For a long time, Morocco was regarded as a country of emigration and transit to Europe. From the 2000s onwards, with the intensification of the migration phenomenon and the tightening of international migration policies, Morocco gradually became a staging country and even (often by default) a destination for migrants. Over the years, many migrants have found themselves stranded often in very precarious living conditions. These particularly difficult experiences and living conditions have consequences for the physical and mental health of migrants.
The town of Oujda is the main land entry point for migrants to Morocco from the Algerian border. Doctors of the World is working there to promote the health and rights of migrants, in partnership with the Moroccan association MS2 (Maroc Solidarité Medicosociale).
In Oujda, but also in Rabat, single women with children and minors are particularly vulnerable. In addition to social, economic and cultural difficulties, women are often victims of exploitation and trafficking networks, as well as all kinds of violence, including sexual violence. The consequences for their health are numerous: unwanted pregnancies, STIs, physical and psychological trauma….
What’s more, access to protection and health services is difficult, even though front-line services are in principle free of charge. This is due to a lack of resources (in terms of human resources, medical equipment and medicines) or discrimination.
Doctors of the World has been working in Morocco since 2013, in collaboration with national civil society organizations (strategic partners) to ensure access to health services and protection for migrants in vulnerable situations, particularly in the Rabat and Oriental regions, and with a focus on sexual and reproductive health rights.
To meet the urgent needs of migrants, particularly women and young adults, Doctors of the World implements an emergency response: emergency accommodation, distribution of survival kits – food, hygiene, clothing and bedding, emergency medico-psychosocial mobile interventions and hygiene campaigns. These interventions are carried out primarily in the regions of Oujda and Rabat, but may be extended to other cities depending on needs and in coordination with the relevant players. In 2022, 2,336 people benefited from the emergency measures deployed by DotW Belgium and its partners.