The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved a US$1.3billion loan to help Morocco improve its preparedness against natural disasters, three weeks after an earthquake killed nearly 3,000 people in the country.
Some Moroccans criticised the government for its handling of the 8 September earthquake in the High Atlas mountains, calling the response slow and disorganised.
On Thursday the IMF said the 18-month loan arrangement would help Morocco’s transition to a greener economy – by tackling “climate vulnerabilities”, “resilience against climate change”, and seizing “opportunities from decarbonisation”.
A strong earthquake of magnitude 6.8 has struck central Morocco, killing at least 1,000 people and causing severe damage in several areas earlier this month.
Residents rushed into the streets when the quake struck at 23:11 local time (22:11 GMT) on Friday.
“Violent” tremors were felt in several areas of the country from Casablanca to Marrakesh, where many buildings have been destroyed or severely damaged.
The country’s royal palace has declared three days of national mourning.
It also said the armed forces would deploy rescue teams to provide affected areas with clean drinking water, food supplies, tents and blankets.
Many of the victims are believed to be in hard-to-reach mountain areas.
The epicentre was in the High Atlas Mountains, 71km (44 miles) south-west of Marrakesh.
Many people are still believed to be under the rubble and rescue efforts are under way. Several bodies have already been recovered.
Hospitals in Marrakesh have seen an influx of injured people, and the authorities have called on residents to donate blood.
Morocco’s interior ministry said the earthquake killed people in the provinces and municipalities of al-Haouz, Marrakesh, Ouarzazate, Azilal, Chichaoua and Taroudant, adding that more than 1,200 had been injured.
In Marrakesh some buildings have collapsed and the damage is particularly severe in parts of the Medina, a Unesco World Heritage site.
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