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Morocco is only accepting limited foreign aid after devastating earthquake

Several countries, including Canada, have offered on-the-ground aid after the deadly earthquake in Morocco, but the North African country has so far only accepted a few of these offers, saying too many unco-ordinated relief efforts would be "counterproductive."

Despite offer, Canada not among 4 countries providing on-the-ground support

Military personnel attend to a survivor of an earthquake.

Officials in Morocco searching for victims and survivors of a devastating earthquake have so far accepted on-the-ground help from just four countries.

The North African country, reeling from a 6.8-magnitude quake that struck late Friday, has accepted offers of such aid from Spain, the U.K., Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

Morocco's Interior Ministry says officials want to avoid a lack of co-ordination that would be "counterproductive" while rescuers race against time to find survivors.

The earthquake, the country's deadliest earthquake in more than six decades, has killed almost 2,700 people.

Morocco's King Mohammed VI on Sunday thanked the four countries, after turning down offers from Germany and France. Multiple countries have offered assistance, including Canada, the United States, Turkey and Algeria.

WATCH | Rescuers race to find survivors in Morocco:

Moroccans dig for earthquake survivors with their bare hands

6 hours ago

Duration 3:00

Moroccan villagers race to dig for survivors in the rubble from Saturday's earthquake as the time limit for people to survive shrinks. The earthquake that struck Morocco has killed at least 2,800 people.

Both France and Germany have played down the significance of Morocco not immediately taking them up on their offers of aid.

Germany does not see any indications that Morocco's decision is political, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Monday.

"Diplomatic relations between Germany and Morocco are good," said the spokesperson, who added that the Moroccan side had thanked Germany for its offer of help.

WATCH |Rescue teams from U.K., and Spain search for survivors:

Rescue teams from U.K., Spain in Moroccan quake disaster zone

19 hours ago

Duration 3:15

The desperate search for earthquake survivors in Morocco is now in its third day, as Moroccan state television reports that the number of confirmed dead is nearly 2,500.

As Germany learned from deadly flooding in 2021 in the Ahr valley, aid co-ordination is important during major disasters to ensure rescue workers do not impede each other, said the spokesperson.

France, which has many ties to Morocco and at least four of its citizens among the dead, said Moroccan authorities are evaluating proposals on a case-by-case basis.

Decisions must be respected, France says

French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said Morocco is "the master of its choices, which must be respected." She announced five million euros ($7.3 million Cdn) in emergency funds for Moroccan and international non-governmental groups rushing to help survivors.

France and Morocco have had a strained relationship in recent years, notably over the issue of Western Sahara, which Morocco wants France to recognize as Moroccan. Morocco has not had an envoy in Paris since January.

However, Colonna told French television on Monday that the lack of an official request for help is a "misplaced controversy" and France is ready to help if asked in future.

People inspect the damage caused by an earthquake.

Currently the collaboration is "very good" between the Moroccan government and aid agencies that are already stationed in Morocco, "and all of it is through the Moroccan [Red Crescent]," Chiran Livera, head of emergency operations at the Canadian Red Cross, told CBC News.

"They are the key linchpin to this entire relief effort," said Livera, whose organization has volunteers in the quake disaster zone to distribute supplies and provide first aid.

Focus on resilience

Livera said it's a challenge to co-ordinate aid efforts in a mountainous region where many roads no longer exist, and his group's focus as it helps survivors in the coming weeks will be on people's dignity and resilience.

The leader of an aid group in France said Moroccan authorities may remember the chaos that unfolded after a smaller quake killed more than 600 people in 2004, when international teams overwhelmed the airport and the damaged roads into the hardest-hit areas. Rescuers Without Borders' founder Arnaud Fraisse said he's withdrawing the organization's offer to send nine people to Morocco because "our role is not to find bodies."

Moroccan state TV said the government had assessed needs and considered the importance of co-ordinating relief efforts before accepting help, and that it might accept relief offers from other countries later.

With files from The Associated Press and Reuters

Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca

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