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a group of people standing on a collapsed building morocco earthquake

“We did not come across a single person who did not say Alhumdulillah”

It’s been one month since a powerful earthquake struck the High Atlas region in Morocco, killing over 3,000 people, and leaving thousands more injured and without homes.

Islamic Relief staff were on the ground almost immediately, partnering with local humanitarian organisations to deliver aid, in coordination with the Moroccan authorities. 

We hear from Islamic Relief staff members Hana Elabdallaoui and Hassan Ghani Sheikh , as they reflect on their experiences of being on the ground during a turbulent time. 


Finding suitable words to describe such an experience is not easy. 

Being on the ground in the aftermath of the earthquake was one of the most challenging experiences, but also one of the most enriching. 

We worked around the clock to begin the response as soon as possible.

We visited affected villages to establish the most essential needs and to assess the magnitude of the earthquake. The level of devastation caused pushed us to work non-stop as a team and as a large international family. 

Time was against us, but we managed to start the response as soon as we reached one of the most-affected areas and expanded our response in other areas, providing families with much-needed mattresses, blankets and hygiene kits. 

Image: Islamic Relief staff member Hana el Abdallaoui procuring mattresses for distribution.


Seeing the reaction of affected families whose whole lives had been torn apart, was truly inspiring. 

There’s no doubt that families were in shock, and many were disorientated. Many needed an outlet to express their pain and told us of the horrors they had experienced. 

But we did not come across a single person who did not say “Alhumdulillah”- all praise be to Allah. It was comforting to see how they accepted Allah’s decree.

I also admired how generous and welcoming families were, despite what they had faced. They sincerely offered us the little they had, and were hurt if we turned down their offers.

It was also beautiful to see a strong community-spirit and the way in which affected families were there for each other. For example, any items which had been recovered from the rubble became the property of the entire community. 

Families were extremely grateful for our support. One gentleman stated that: “For us, the fact that you have come here and listened to us and know of our existence is much more valuable than any help you have brought us” .

Their humility, gratitude and faith in Allah really moved me.

Turning to Allah in times of difficulty 

One day, we woke up to an intense aftershock in Chichaoua. This experience made me realise how vulnerable we are, and how we should always only rely on Allah, as well as ensure that our legacy in this life is a form of Sadaqah Jariah for us. 

It wasn’t always easy to maintain a calm and encouraging disposition while we heard the stories of affected communities.

The thing that comforted me was turning to Allah, and listening to Islamic talks in order to provide the strength needed to help vulnerable families. 

It was nice to work side by side with colleagues, all united with the same mission to help as many people as possible no matter what the cost, and to please Allah.  

Hassan: We wanted to make sure those affected are served with dignity and respect”

When we first arrived in Marrakesh, in the middle of the night we felt the after-shocks. People ran out of their hotels.

Families feared their houses collapsing on them, after seeing many of their neighbours and relatives lose their homes amid the earthquake. 

islamic relief staff standing amongst rubble after the earthquake in morocco
Image: Hassaan Ghani Sheikh from Islamic Relief UK visiting the village of Tagadir, in Chichaoua, where 17 people died.
Whole villages were destroyed. People have lost their livelihoods, families and homes.

We were on the ground almost immediately after the earthquake struck.

We visited an area around 1200m above sea level, in between mountains and close to the epicentre of the earthquake.

It took us over 4 hours to travel through the mountains through hazardous roads. Rubble from the mountains had landed on the roads, and large trucks and lorries were unable to travel in such conditions to deliver aid. 

While visiting these areas, we witnessed many people sitting on the side of the roads. They didn’t know what’s going on, who to ask, and what’s going to happen to them next. They just needed a shoulder to cry on. 

We were very active in these areas with our needs assessment, and helped to establish the items vulnerable communities desperately needed.

Following this, we worked hard to distribute mattresses, blankets and hygiene kits to survivors in remote mountainous areas who were still sleeping outside after the devastating earthquake.

We worked tirelessly and wanted to make sure these vulnerable families were taken care of. 

Most importantly, we wanted to make sure those affected are served with dignity and respect. 

Image: Islamic Relief staff distribute mattresses and blankets in Tadcherte

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