The latest tragedy of a house collapse (see news brief story here) is sadly one of several recent events. Over the past few weeks there have been a number of house collapses in the Fez Medina. However, the good news is that there is a community organisation that assists the victims. The voluntary organisation "Association Secouristes Volontaires de Proximité" so far have three groups in the Medina at Bab El-Guissa, Batha and R'Cif.
The initiative, a joint venture between the local community associations in the medina, the Fez Municipality, ADER (the Agency for the Dedensification and Rehabilitation of the Fes Medina), the Department of Civil Protection and the Swiss Direction de Developpement et Cooperation, also run training in disaster relief, first aid and other courses, for people in local communities.
The group also assists victims of flooding during heavy rain periods. At the moment the association has no formal structure for raising money or donations, but plans are under way to create more community awareness of what the association can offer. They are currently looking for a management assistant.
The aims of the Association are to support the response capacity of the Societe Civile by providing a wider and stronger network which will increase the safety of people living in various parts of the medina and just outside. There are five such groups within this disaster management system. The first 72 hours after natural disasters are most crucial, and the Association is to make the population aware of risks and increase collaboration between professional rescue teams and develop better lines of communication.