West News Wire: After an earthquake struck the Atlas mountain region of Morocco, killing more than 2,900 people and leaving thousands more injured, Morocco plans to spend more than $11 billion on rehabilitation.
According to a statement released during a meeting presided over by King Mohammed VI on Wednesday, the money would be used to “rehouse affected people, reconstruct homes, and restore infrastructure.”
According to the government, over a five-year period, the cash would assist the 4.2 million residents who were impacted by the earthquake.
Thousands of homes were destroyed by the earthquake in central Morocco, especially in the High Atlas mountain area, forcing many to sleep outside as winter approached.
Rural communities, which are accustomed to traditional lifestyles and are largely detached from modern ways of living, were some of the hardest hit, particularly as their homes were simple in design. Many crumbled as soon as the earthquake struck.
The provinces of Al Haouz, Chichaoua, Taroudant, Marrakech, Ouarzazate, and Azizlal are the worst-affected.
The Atlas Mountains of Morocco are now a popular destination for trekking and adventurous vacation. Visitors are attracted mostly by its historic mud-brick villages. The kingdom has made considerable investments in tourism. Tourist arrivals this year increased by 92% over the same period in 2022.
According to a recent US Geological Survey assessment, the earthquake might destroy 8% of Morocco’s GDP.
Some have questioned Morocco’s response to the earthquake, prompting the declaration. In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, Rabat held UN emergency relief personnel waiting. Although France and other countries offered aid, Morocco only took a small amount of it.
The North African country is ruled by King Mohammed VI. The 60-year-old monarch has cultivated a more subdued appearance in public compared to other Arab rulers, but he has also been criticised for extended stays outside of the kingdom and opaque decision-making.
Last week King Mohammed VI visited quake survivors at a hospital in Marrakech, posing for photos, donating blood and kissing patients, in a show of solidarity.