Tzu Chi Foundation commissioned Jood Association to carry out distribution in the Aghouatim region. Moroccan residents transported the supplies home using donkeys. (Photo provided by Tzu Chi Foundation | Aghouatim, Morocco | 2023/11/11)

On September 8, an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.8 devastated Morocco in North Africa, claiming over 2,900 lives. While the incident has faded from media attention, Tzu Chi initiated a large-scale relief operation on November 8, to provide aid to those still suffering in the aftermath of the quake. People, some leading donkeys and others riding motorcycles, arrived to collect relief supplies. Among them was a young boy who came in tears; he was left an orphan by the earthquake that took away his parents.

Life after the earthquake

The strong earthquake has left villages in the Atlas Mountains severely affected. Most residents still find themselves living in tents and many continue to face challenges in their daily lives. For medical needs, they must turn to makeshift field hospitals, and temporary schools have been set up for children to continue their education.

Tzu Chi has no local volunteers in Morocco, which made immediate assistance challenging. So the foundation actively sought collaboration. Eventually, it enlisted the help of the local charity organization "Jood Association" to facilitate distribution of relief supplies.

Following Muslim custom, Jood Association personnel graciously presented the relief items to those affected with gratitude, respect, and love. (Photo provided by Tzu Chi Foundation | Tamesloht, Morocco | 2023/11/08)

Collaborate in Compassion

After the earthquake, Jood promptly conducted on-site assessments to understand the extent of the disaster. They brought mobile shower units, typically used for the homeless, to the mountainous disaster areas, and provided essential items like emergency tents and blankets. Through collaboration with Jood, Tzu Chi has been able to fund the purchase of relief supplies locally. The first large-scale distribution took place on November 8, benefiting an estimated 6,000 households. Tzu Chi also donated two shower units for those in need.

Founder of Jood Association, Mrs. Hind Laidi, posed in front of the packed supplies, ready to deliver Tzu Chi's relief items to those who need them the most. (Photo provided by Tzu Chi Foundation | Marrakesh, Morocco | 2023/11/04)

The aid packages comprised of essential items such as staple foods, cooking oil, hygiene kits, and warm blankets. Recipients were required to sign and confirm their names in a registry. Master Cheng Yen's heartfelt condolence letter provided a source of encouragement, extending care and solace to the survivors from afar.

At the beginning of the distribution, Mrs. Hind Laidi, founder of Jood Association (on the left), read aloud Master Cheng Yen's heartfelt condolence letter. It provided encouragement and extended care and solace to the survivors from afar. (Photo provided by Tzu Chi Foundation | Tamesloht, Morocco | 2023/11/08)

This collaborative effort, set to continue until June of next year, resembles a cross-border dance of friendship, where Tzu Chi's compassion aligns harmoniously with the practical actions of Jood. Each bag of food and every blanket symbolizes boundless care, bringing warmth and hope to the affected communities.

At the distribution site, a well-organized pathway was delineated with barriers for the smooth flow of relief distribution. (Photo provided by Tzu Chi Foundation | Tamesloht, Morocco | 2023/11/08)

Radiance of Aid, Blossoming of Compassion

While the earthquake in Morocco no longer dominates media headlines, the ongoing relief efforts by Tzu Chi and the Jood continue to foster hope in the region. This intertwining of friendship and compassion forms a sturdy foundation for the people of Morocco to rebuild their lives.

With guidance by Jood personnel, recipients approached in order to register and sign for the relief supplies. Some were so moved that tears welled up in their eyes. (Photo provided by Tzu Chi Foundation | Tamesloht, Morocco | 2023/11/08)

Through this relief mission, we witness the radiance of humanity and the warming power of international collaboration. It reaffirms our belief that, regardless of the magnitude of challenges we face, love and assistance can make the world a better place.

Morocco has become the 133rd country where Tzu Chi has provided international aid. The 129th to 132nd were Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria, and Slovakia, all countries affected by the Russia-Ukraine conflict.