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By Maryanne Seabra
9 September 2023

As stories of heartbreak and survival emerge from the devastating earthquake in Morocco, thousands of children and families remain at risk, with rescuers struggling to reach remote villages and provide urgent assistance to those impacted.  

Before, during and after an emergency UNICEF is always there for every child, no matter what.  

What happened in Morocco? 

On 9 September, families and children in Morocco experienced the terrifying power of an earthquake. The 6.8 magnitude earthquake — the biggest to hit the country in a century — caused widespread destruction and left thousands at risk. 

Buildings collapsed, leaving over 2,000 people dead, hundreds injured and many in critical condition, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), UNICEF's emergency partner. As the urgent search for survivors continues, casualties are expected to rise significantly.   

Many families are still trapped under the rubble of their homes. Hospitals in the city are receiving an influx of injured people and local authorities are calling on residents to donate blood. 

UNICEF is closely monitoring the situation and is ready to support the Government of Morocco and help reach children impacted by this devastating disaster.

A woman mourns in front of her house destroyed by the earthquake in the old city in Marrakech on 9 September 2023.
A woman mourns in front of her house destroyed by the earthquake in the old city in Marrakech on 9 September 2023.
© UNICEF/UNI433683/Senna/AFP

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UNICEF's rapid emergency response 

In an emergency, children are always the most vulnerable. When disasters strike, they urgently need shelter, safe water, medical care, protection, and psychosocial support.  

With the scale of our infrastructure and long-term development work around the world, UNICEF can act quickly, delivering life-saving help to children in just 48 hours thanks to our teams on the ground and pre-positioned supplies. Our immediate priority is to ensure that children and families impacted by disaster like this, receive the support they need. 

UNICEF teams stand ready to scale up and further support the Moroccan government’s humanitarian response as the situation unfolds. With your help, we can ensure that children and families in crisis receive the life-saving support they so desperately need.   

Residents stay out in a square in Marrakech following an earthquake late on 9 September 2023.
Residents stay out in a square in Marrakech following an earthquake late on 9 September 2023. Many residents spent the night sleeping on rubble-strewn streets, fearful of aftershocks.
© UNICEF/UNI433685/Senna/AFP

How can you make a difference?

When disaster strikes, our teams are ready to help —  thanks to the generous support of people like you.

UNICEF responds to hundreds of emergencies around the world, every year. We’re on the ground, working to reach children and their families with life-saving support while helping communities recover.  

We are 100% donor funded, and every dollar helps us go further and faster to help every child in need, no matter where they are. 

Help UNICEF reach children with life-saving support during emergencies.  

Your donation can make a difference today.    

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