Morocco Flood Aid Being Sought by Islamic Relief Organizations

morocco flooding from tv screencapture

According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), high sea temperatures, together with other climate factors, are contributing to exceptionally heavy rainfall and floods in many countries, and extreme drought in others. With record-breaking torrential rainfall last month, Morocco is well-established on the list of flood-prone nations.

“There is no standstill in global warming,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. With record high global sea surface temperatures expected to remain above normal until the end of the year, 2014 is on track to be one of the hottest, if not the hottest, on record. “Provisional information for 2014 means that fourteen of the fifteen warmest years on record have all occurred in the 21st century,” he said.

Record-Breaking Heat and Torrential Rainfall

Mr. Jarraud continued, “What we saw in 2014 is consistent with what we expect from a changing climate. Record-breaking heat combined with torrential rainfall and floods destroyed livelihoods and ruined lives. What is particularly unusual and alarming this year are the high temperatures of vast areas of the ocean surface, including in the northern hemisphere.”

Included among the major incidents in the 2014 WMO report is the following case: “Heavy rain in central and southern Morocco in November caused severe flooding. At Guelmim, 126mm of rain fell in four days, the monthly average for November is 17mm and the average for the year is 120mm.”

In fact, that report for Morocco was incomplete, as another storm followed one week later and added substantially to the record amount of rainfall which inundated the nation.

Morocco Receives Ten Inches of Rain in Four Days

Islamic Relief USA teams are right now raising donations and moving quickly to provide aid to the survivors of exactly those devastating floods in Morocco. In some of the heaviest rainfall in the region in 28 years, areas including Guelmin, Agadir and Ourrzazate, as well as tourist hub Marrakesh were hit especially hard.

image (Image source: Islamic Relief USA)

Issuing an emergency relief plan of action, (IFRC, 28 Nov 2014) the International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and other reports combined, describe the disaster in Morocco.

The latest reports say that heavy rainfall between Nov 21 – 30 has caused widespread flooding in Morocco. Many locations have suffered devastating inundation, with the resort of Agadir experiencing the equivalent of an entire year’s rainfall – more than 250 millimetres (10 inches) – within four days.

A Heavy Toll Inflicted

More than 117,000 people are affected and 47 deaths have been reported in the two storms that occurred one week apart. Several thousand homes and farms were damaged or lost, and many head of cattle died.

A report issued by the Ministry of Equipment, Transport and Logistics indicated 100 roads were cut off, six of which are national highways. Power networks were also damaged, authorities said, adding that at least 250 villages had been cut off. Al-Ittihad Al Ichtiraki News said material damage ran into “billions” of dirhams (hundreds of millions of euros, dollars).

Precipitation that exceeded 120 mm in 24 hours affected the Atlantic coast of Tangier in Sidi Ifni, the chain of the High and Anti Atlas mountains, and the center and east of the country. It was accompanied by a temperature drop with snowfall in altitudes from 1,700 meters, which could complicate the situation.

Floodwaters Rising in the Desert

According to the Guardian, the downpours led to many rivers bursting their banks, causing widespread damage and leaving whole districts under water.

In a valley which is normally a dry riverbed outside of Guelmim, 24 people died, with 11 bodies recovered from the raging floodwaters filling the riverbed. Scenes on the TV showed swiftly running flood water from Oued Talmaadart crossing the highway and stranding several drivers. Priority in Guelmim is going to reopening the roads, restoring electricity, drinking water, and health services.

image (Image source: Qatar Charity)

Qatar Charity Arrives in Morocco

Joining Islamic Relief USA and other international relief agencies, the Doha-Based Qatar Charity (QC) last week allocated QR400,000 as emergency aid to the flood-damaged southeastern regions of Morocco, in the first phase of a relief package.

Visiting Morocco to assess the humanitarian situation in the affected areas, the QC delegation experienced difficulties in reaching the areas due to difficult weather conditions and damaged roads. It took the delegation nearly 50 hours to reach the affected areas in the south.

Inspecting the conditions of the injured, they evaluated the victim’s requirements. The QC field visits indicated urgent need for blankets, mattresses, heating, and food and shelter for those whose homes were destroyed or damaged.

Confirming Global Warming Yet Again

Helping people cope with more frequent and damaging extreme weather and climate conditions is a critical mission of the World Meteorological Organization. “Record-high greenhouse gas emissions and associated atmospheric concentrations are committing the planet to a much more uncertain and inhospitable future,” said Mr. Jarraud. Continuing, he assured, “WMO and its Members will continue to improve forecasts and services.”

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The WMO provisional statement on the Status of the Global Climate in 2014 was published to inform the COP20 UN climate change negotiations which recently concluded in Lima, Peru.

Conclusively confirming global warming yet again, WMO’s report indicates that the global average air temperature over land and sea surface for January to October was about 0.57° Centigrade (1.03 Fahrenheit) above the average of 14.00°C (57.2 °F) for the 1961-1990 reference period, and 0.09°C (0.16 °F) above the average for the past ten years (2004-2013).

Risks of Extreme Weather Events Are Rising

Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said: “Our climate is changing and every year the risks of extreme weather events and impacts on humanity rise.”

Ms. Figueres added, “Fortunately our political climate is changing too with evidence that governments, supported by investors, business and cities are moving towards a meaningful, universal climate agreement in Paris 2015 — an agreement that keeps a global temperature rise below 2 degrees C by putting in place the pathways to a deep de-carbonisation of the world’s economy and climate neutrality or ‘net zero’ in the second half of the century.”

That would be more than welcome progress for all of us, but especially for the world’s increasingly flood-prone nations.

image (Image source: Morocco World News)

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About the Author

Aisha Abdelhamid (Birth-name Kathleen Vail) is a freelance lifestyle and environmental science writer currently living in Vancouver, BC. Her interests include environmental conservation, climate science, renewable energy, faith-based environmental activism, sustainable economics, corporate social responsibility, creative lifestyles, and healthy living.