Morocco earthquake: pain & solidarity in the Atlas Mountains

Morocco earthquake: pain & solidarity in the Atlas Mountains

Our hearts go out to friends, family and colleagues affected by the earthquake that centred on the High Atlas mountains and the villages of southwest Morocco. Morocco declared three days of national mourning, during which the national flag was flown at half mast.The king, Mohammed VI,  authorised the country’s armed forces to intervene and oversee aid efforts, with rescue teams deployed to provide affected areas with clean drinking water, food supplies, tents and blankets.The relief work continues. Within the impacted areas of the remote Atlas Mountains, accessibility is still a challenge. Widespread destruction has isolated the mountain communities; while in Marrakech, the earthquake caused damage in parts of the old city and Medina.

While we are devastated by the loss of life,  we have been very touched by the sincere wishes and prayers of the international community. And the wave of solidarity which demonstrates the unity of Moroccans.What is crucial to stress is the Atlas Mountains are huge and so many areas even in the mountains (never mind elsewhere in Morocco) are entirely unimpacted by the earthquake.The airports are operating as normal. The travel advice hasn’t changed. We are happy to reassure travellers about the safety of travelling to Morocco to prevent this tragic natural disaster from also becoming an economic one. The worst thing that can happen to those communities is if tourism stops.The High Atlas mountains will take time to recover and must be supported while they do so. Clean-up efforts are in full swing in Marrakech and the city is functioning almost normally.Morocco is open and ready to host its visitors so there is no need to cancel your trip. So many people have asked us how they can help. You can donate to one of the relief charities helping to rebuild communities affected. And most importantly continue to support the tourism industry that Morocco relies on.We look forward to seeing you in Fez – the largest car-free medina in Africa, with the oldest university. The city offers an authentic Moroccan experience perfect for travellers from around the world. It is easily reached from Europe with many direct flights; or from further away, via flights to Casablanca. 

Liz Hoggard

Travel Journalist