Morocco accepts offers of assistance from ONLY 4 countries following earthquake

Almost immediately after word of Friday’s earthquake in Morocco spread, offers of assistance from all over the world poured in.

However, the country has been picky in what it has accepted thus far.

Morocco’s interior ministry said in a statement on Sunday that it had “responded in this particular phase to offers of support from friendly nations: Spain, Qatar, the United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates.”

Spain has dispatched a search-and-rescue team with sniffer dogs, and the UK has offered a similar squad, but it is unclear why Morocco has been sluggish to accept other offers.

French assistance is on standby, but the leader of one rescue organisation, Secouristes sans Frontières, claimed his aid workers had not received permission from the Moroccan government, according to the AFP news agency.

Algeria, which severed diplomatic ties with Tunisia two years ago, said it could send 80 specialised rescue workers from its civil protection force.

There have also been bids from the United States, Tunisia, Turkey, and Taiwan.

However, the decision on what help to accept has become entangled in issues of sovereignty and geopolitics.

There are strained relations between France and Morocco, for instance, partly as a result of moves by French President Emmanuel Macron to get closer to Algeria.

But the French authorities have tried to play down any idea that they had been snubbed.

“This is a misplaced controversy,” Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna is quoted by the Reuters news agency as saying.

“We are ready to help Morocco. It’s a sovereign Moroccan decision and it’s up to them to decide,” she said.

Morocco said it wishes to maintain control and does not wish to risk a potentially chaotic situation with dozens of countries and organisations stepping in to assist.

“A lack of co-ordination in such cases would be counterproductive,” authorities there have said.

But government critic and activist Maati Mounjib has said it is the wrong response when help is desperately needed, especially in more remote areas.

“I think it is really an error [to insist on] sovereignty and national pride. This is not the moment to refuse because the aid is essential, even developed countries accept outside help [in disasters],” he told the BBC’s Newsday programme.