Monday, January 14, 2013

High Atlas Rescue Mission

Moroccans have rallied to support villagers in the High Atlas Mountains. Several tons of food and hundreds of mattresses and blankets were distributed this weekend to villagers in remote mountain villages

Calls were launched in recent weeks via social networks from people moved by the situation of these people and information referring to the death of a number of infants.

The response has been positive and "six truckloads of mattresses, blankets and food" have been distributed since Friday "to 2,000 families living in 10 villages, including that of Anfgou" said Elmahdi Benabdeljalil spokesman for a group composed of sixty concerned Moroccan citizens.

Children in impoverished conditions in the Atlas Mountains

At 1600 meters, Anfgou (400 km south of Rabat) is located in one of the coldest regions of Morocco. In December, a month and a half old baby perished, a victim of the cold and lack of infrastructure. The death brought to five the number of young children who died in similar circumstances, according to local media.

"More than 20 tons of food and hundreds of blankets were distributed to the inhabitants of different villages," said Mr. Benabdeljalil. "With the help of simple people and some families, we were able to collect more than 350,000 dirhams (32,000 euros). One person gave 100,000 dirhams (9,000 euros). I can say that the operation was successful. "

He said he was pleasantly surprised by the cooperation of local authorities who provided all the logistical support for the success of this operation.

The High Atlas region suffers from isolation and a lack of infrastructure and many roads are impassable in winter. Residents complain about having to transport essential goods on donkeys and icy roads.

On Friday, Agriculture Minister Aziz Akhannouch, acknowledged that "there is still a gap between urban and mountainous areas. It is in this sense that the Directorate for Rural Development and mountainous areas was created to coordinate and develop projects for the development of rural and mountainous regions," he pointed out.


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