Morocco: Education International stands in solidarity after devastating earthquake

published 13 September 2023 updated 15 September 2023

A 6,8-magnitude earthquake hit Morocco on September 9th, killing more than 2,900 people and causing severe injuries to 5,500 people more, including many teachers, students, and their communities. Many buildings have been damaged or destroyed. The rescue operations are ongoing in the affected areas.

The epicenter of the earthquake was in a remote area of the High Atlas Mountains in the Al Haouz province, 75 km south-west of Marrakesh. The historic city suffered extensive damage; many villages and towns closer to the epicenter were practically destroyed.

Education International (EI) reached out to its member organisations in the country to express the solidarity and support of the global teaching community. Education unions have reported significant casualties, including the loss of 19 teachers and over 100 students in the Taroudant region, with 39 teachers suffering severe injuries. In addition, 530 schools and 55 boarding facilities have been destroyed.

All EI affiliates in Morocco called on their members to make blood donations to support injured victims.

The unions emphasized that their members locally need essentials, such as food, water, tents, and blankets.

They added that affected rural areas are underprivileged and neglected, and their lack of adequate infrastructure poses challenges for emergency relief efforts.

They further noted that affected educators further require psychological support due to their traumatic experiences - one female teacher has lost all her students in the earthquake.

“We are deeply saddened by the horrific disaster that claimed many lives in Morocco. Our thoughts and solidarity are with our members and all the people of Morocco affected by this devastating earthquake,” stated David Edwards, EI General Secretary.

Education International, the global union federation of teachers and education support personnel has extended an emergency relief donation and has launched an urgent action appeal to collect funds to help Moroccan unions address teacher unionists’ pressing needs in the earthquake-affected communities.

It will continue to assess the situation with the education unions in the coming days.