MOROCCO: Leaders and diplomats from around the world expressed condolences and offered support to Morocco on Saturday after a devastating earthquake struck the mountains southwest of Marrakesh.
The 6.8-magnitude earthquake that struck late Friday killed more than 2,000 people and injured more than 2,000, many critically, according to Moroccan authorities.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez of Spain, bordering the Moroccan strait, expressed “solidarity and support for the people of Morocco as a result of this terrible earthquake… Spain is with the victims of this tragedy.”
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that “our thoughts are with the victims of this devastating earthquake. We express our condolences to all those affected”.
France is prepared to assist with first aid, according to French President Emmanuel Macron, who described himself as “devastated.”
Following the earthquake, the Pope reportedly conveyed his “deep solidarity” with Morocco, according to the Vatican.
The “willingness to support Morocco in this extraordinary situation” was emphasised by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen expressed her condolences “to the Moroccan people in the face of a terrible earthquake.”
And member states of the European Union, through the European Council, said in a statement: “We are deeply saddened by the devastating consequences of this tragic event.
“As close friends and partners of Morocco, we are ready to help in any way you deem useful,” the statement addressed to King Mohammed said.
The leaders of Russia and Ukraine also expressed their sympathy.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi expressed “deepest condolences to HM King Mohammed VI. and to all Moroccans for the lives lost in the terrible earthquake”.
“Ukraine stands in solidarity with Morocco at this tragic time,” he said on social media.
Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed similar sentiments, saying in a message to the Moroccan king that “we share the pain and mourning of the friendly Moroccan people.”
The G20 conference is being hosted this weekend by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who expressed his “extreme pain” over the deaths caused by the earthquake in Morocco.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, pledged to support “our Moroccan brothers in every way” during this trying period.
Algeria, which cut diplomatic ties with Morocco in August 2021 at the height of the crisis between the two countries, expressed its “sincere condolences to the fraternal Moroccan people for the victims of the earthquake,” its foreign ministry said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “has instructed all government agencies and forces to provide all necessary assistance to the people of Morocco, including preparations to send an aid delegation to the area,” his office said.
It is the latest show of support following the 2020 Abraham Accords, which saw Israel normalize relations with a number of Arab countries, including Morocco.
The President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, said that “we stand with the Kingdom of Morocco at this difficult time and wish a speedy recovery to all those affected”.
He also ordered an “airlift to deliver critical aid to the country”, state news agency WAM said.
Iran expressed its condolences over the “terrible earthquake”.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani said he was “ready to provide any form of assistance to deal with the consequences of the devastating earthquake.” King Abdullah II of Jordan called on his government to provide all possible assistance to Morocco.
Nigerian President Bola Tinubu offered his sincere condolences to King Mohammed: “In the face of this adversity, Nigeria will continue to stand in solidarity with Morocco as it recovers, rebuilds and emerges stronger than ever from this unfortunate event.”
Moussa Faki Mahamat, the president of the African Union Commission, sent his “sincere condolences” to the king, the people of Morocco, and the families of the victims.
In a statement, the World Bank expressed its sympathy for the Moroccan people.
At this point, the Moroccan people and authorities dealing with this tragedy are our only concern.
Hissein Brahim Taha, the secretary general of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, who is located in Jeddah, prayed for “mercy on the victims and the speedy recovery of the injured.”
World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus described the quake as “heartbreaking” and added: “We stand ready to support immediate health needs”, a sentiment echoed by UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said the response to a devastating earthquake could take years.
UNESCO, the United Nations heritage organization, said it would help Morocco draw up an inventory of damage to national monuments and a repair strategy.