Urgent Support for Older People Affected by the Earthquake in Morocco

Morocco was struck with a 6.8 magnitude earthquake on Friday, September 8, with several aftershocks reported and families still trapped under rubble. The United Nations estimates that  more than 300,000 people have been affected.

The devastating earthquake will create huge challenges for those seeking to address the impact on the millions of survivors, and HelpAge has been assessing how older people are likely to be affected and what response will be required.

Chris McIvor, Regional Representative for Eurasia and the Middle East at HelpAge International, who previously spent three years working in Morocco said:

“As the death toll rises in Morocco, we are very concerned about the potential impact on the country’s older population. The earthquake is going to have a particularly devastating impact on vulnerable people in hard-to-reach locations.”

“With up to half a million people aged over 60 living in the affected area, we are focusing on what we can do to reach communities in need of support. We are monitoring the situation and reaching out to local agencies to assess how the specific needs of older people affected by the earthquake can be addressed.”

Older people are particularly at risk in the aftermath of an earthquake as they are more susceptible to shock and trauma and are often unable to access essential aid. Not only is sleeping outside in difficult conditions particularly challenging for older people, but they have specific medical and health care needs—including chronic conditions and regular access to medications.

With aftershocks and an increasing death toll, there is a high risk that further damage is to come, compounding the needs of those most at risk. Today, older people are in urgent need of shelter, access to health care and medicines, and other essential items. By supporting HelpAge USA, you can help ensure that their needs do not go overlooked.

“The response to this terrible emergency in Morocco must be inclusive of the needs of older people, as well as promoting their engagement and participation in informing the help that is provided,” said Chris McIvor.

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