Christian groups send emergency aid to Morocco as earthquake death toll nears 3,000

Convoy of Hope is one of the many Christian humanitarian groups on the ground in Morocco.(Photo: Convoy of Hope)

(CP) A devastating earthquake has left nearly 3,000 dead and thousands injured in Morocco, prompting international aid efforts and a response from Christian groups Convoy of Hope and Operation Rescue, among others.

The epicentre of the 6.8-magnitude quake was in the High Atlas mountains, about 45 miles southwest of Marrakech, making it the strongest earthquake to hit Morocco in 120 years, according to media reports.

Many fatalities are in hard-to-reach areas south of Marrakech, Sky News reported, adding that there are fears one town could record 2,000 deaths alone. 

Convoy of Hope is mobilizing to provide essential resources to the affected areas, according to its press release, which says the organisation aims to deliver food, water, hygiene supplies, shelter, blankets, and generators to survivors.

Moroccans will face many challenges in the coming weeks and months, the Christian group warned. "The sudden loss of consistent electricity, clean water, and shelter exacerbate an already devastating situation."

Operation Blessing is also deploying members of its International Disaster Relief team to Morocco to aid in the relief efforts following the deadly earthquake.

In an emailed statement to The Christian Post on Monday, Operation Blessing said its director of International Disaster Relief, Diego Traverso, will join team members from Spain and Virginia Beach to distribute relief supplies, including solar-powered lights and water filtration equipment, and to help with immediate needs.

The organisation was among the Christian humanitarian aid organisations — including Samaritan's Purse — that helped with recovery efforts in Turkey after the country experienced an earthquake in February and is continuing to assist Floridians impacted by Hurricane Idalia. The organisation said it's also keeping track of Hurricane Lee, which is expected to impact the East Coast later this week.

Many other international rescue teams are heading to Morocco, with Spain, Britain, France and Turkey offering support, as well as the United Nations, The Times of London reported.

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken spoke with Morocco's Foreign Minister, Nasser Bourita, discussing how the U.S. could best support Morocco's humanitarian response, the U.S. State Department said in a statement.

Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan's Purse, wrote on Facebook Sunday that even though Morocco had not yet asked other countries for assistance, there was much Christians could do through the power of prayer.

"Please join me in praying for the people of Morocco and their first responders in the wake of this disaster," he said. 

Caroline Holt, the global operations director for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said the full scope of the disaster might not be clear for several days.

"The nature of an earthquake, of course, is that it does break the roads, it breaks communications, it breaks the electricity lines, it breaks the waterlines," she was quoted as saying. "In short, we don't know the full extent of this yet because we don't know until we reach those people."

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