It's been a whole week now since the 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit just south of Marrakech in the El Haouz region.
If Morocco and her people have a piece of your heart like it does mine - I'm sure you've been on edge watching the updates and battling with the best way to help.
If you have the means to donate - please do directly with the organisations that are on the ground helping.
My support this week have gone to The Amal NonProfit who has been my charity of choice to support in Morocco. This wonderful Marrakech based womens training orgainsation has been making and distributing meals to the villages affected and the people helping. And in the long term will be supporting the rebuild. What that looks like yet of course they don't know. DONATE HERE
Some other wonderful local organisations to directly support:
Education For All Morocco - an organisation that runs boarding houses for young girls in the remote mountain areas. Their buildings and boarding houses in the some villages affected have been completely destroyed and are running an ongoing crisis appeal. DONATE HERE
I'll keep adding others to the bottom of this article too.
I'm relieved to report that friends, business partners and artisans I've been in contact with this week are all physically ok. Everyone has family or people they know that have been affected, lost lives or been displaced. Or are heavily involved in the clean up happening now.
I've been glued to the news and the social media accounts of local Marrakech based organisations, friends and businesses all week, and can't believe the stark difference in information coming from the ground.
The reporting from some international news channels frankly is not good enough. The same footage and interviews being shown on repeat each night. Describing the epicentre of the earthquake as hitting Marrakech, with the same images and videos of Marrakech looking like it's been totally destroyed.
It hasn't. From most reports from locals, much of the images of rubble in Marrakech's streets are isolated to certain areas. The newer areas of the city have hardly been affected.
Locals from the older neighbourhoods surrounding the medina have been sleeping in the squares and the outskirts of the city at night time, unable to return to their homes due to damage and the worry of aftershocks. The King has announced immediate support for these people to assist with rebuilding. For now local charities are helping them with food and shelter.
What has been totally destroyed are the rural villages of the High Atlas Mountains south of Marrakech, their ancient mosques and towns that have been turned to rubble. Whole families buried under their homes. Remote villages with no access by car, some who until only yesterday had still not been visited by official organisations or any other human contact.
It's dire. And is going to take years to help these people rebuild let alone coming to terms with the loss of life.
Over night Marrakech locals have become managers of major disaster relief operations. I've been watching on as friends have been running food drives and driving trucks into the mountains, becoming first responders to people that have had no help yet. No water, food or shelter. Still finding bodies of their family and their animals with no signs of government or major NGO assistance in sight.
There's reports now that with so many well meaning locals arriving - the trucks are now clogging roads, too many donations of water and supermarket foods are creating dumping grounds of rubbish and plastic waste. Locals are reporting what is needed immediately are tents, clothes and blankets. Winter is coming and these people have lost everything.
This brings the existential questions of how do we help from afar and not hinder the efforts. How can we all ensure the money, resources and help are going to the right places, right organisations and the right direction.
Continue to donate to trusted local charities and well set up professional non-profit organisations who have the means, local cultural knowledge and the infrastructure to help. Not just now, but in the long term.
I don't know what this looks like yet for how Nouvelle Nomad will support this cause ongoing - but it will likely be by sponsoring a village or specific project to rebuild once the plans are in place.
This year in particular has been a financially hard time for everyone. Even if you don't have the financial means to help with donations, sharing the details of trusted charities with your work place or others that might helps too.
Keeping the crisis top of mind is going to be so important. Once the news cycle ends, the need for donations and support doesn't.
Friends - if you have a trip to Morocco booked - please consider still going.
Support the local tourism, they need their industry thriving more than ever. It employs so many young people as guides and hosts, and older people in the riads, restaurants and hotels, and of course the artisans and their shops. Many of which have extended families in the mountains areas that have been affected.
Locals are telling is it's safe to come. They want tourism there - they want you to visit.
SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESS
Continuing partnerships with local artisans, local businesses and local tourism operators will be more important than ever. I've always prided myself on the direct connections with the local suppliers, makers and businesses we work with. This will not change.
For now I am focused on and only worried about how everyone is, how their families are and what support they need from us. Business comes later.
Thanks for reading this far. I'll keep you updated with how this plays out for Nouvelle Nomad over the next few months.
For now let's all keep our dear Morocco in our hearts. It's going to be a hard and long recovery.