Forgotten crisis: Santa Barbara-based non-profit steps in to help victims of huge quake in Morocco
ShelterBox has supplied tents, solar lights, and other essentials to more than 6000 people left homeless by September's magnitude 6.8 earthquake.
It’s a massive disaster, but it’s one which has dropped from the headlines. On September 8, a magnitude 6.8 earthquake hit Morocco.
Around 3,000 people died, and a thousand remote mountain villages were destroyed or heavily damaged. But, many of those hit by the crisis aren’t getting the help the need.
Teams from a Santa Barbara based non-profit are stepping up to help.
ShelterBox officials said the damage is overwhelming. "Seeing the devastation here...the rubble, village after village...we're glad to be serving the shelter needs of 20 villages in the Atlas mountains," said Kerri Murray. She's President of ShelterBox.
The non-profit is known for supplying tents, solar lights, and household essentials like pots and pans to people hit by natural disasters or conflicts like war. She talked to KCLU News from the disaster zone.
Murray is in one of the remote mountain villages hit hard by the disaster. "We're certainly glad at ShelterBox that we're here. The villages are so remote, there's a single road in and out," said Murray. "Many of these folks would often be forgotten as least as it relates to shelter needs."
Murray said they’re surrounded by death and devastation. "Every village that we've been in, there have been so many people displaced. Most of these people have lost a family member, or friend in the earthquake."
The ShelterBox President said she’s part of the eighth team from the Santa Barbara-based non-profit to go to Morocco to supply aid. There’s a race against the calendar to get tents, and other supplies to the quake victims before Morocco’s harsh winter takes control of the region.
The quake adds to the long list of counties already being served by ShelterBox. They are currently helping people impacted by crisis in Ukraine, Libya, Syria, and more than a half dozen other countries.
Murray said they currently aren’t able to supply humanitarian aid to Gaza, because the ongoing fighting there makes it too dangerous. But, she said they are prepared to step up when conditions allow it to be done safely.
ShelterBox is hoping the community will step up to support its effortsin Morocco. It isn’t government funded. It relies on support from individuals, companies, foundations, civic groups like Rotary clubs, and schools.