Preventing and preparing for disasters in the Moroccan medinas
Volunteer neighbourhood disaster relief workers in Morocco
In a country like Morocco, where the natural elements provoke serious incidents, prompt first-aid intervention is crucial in saving lives. To better manage these situations, some Moroccan towns have deployed their own residents to back up their emergency services when a disaster occurs. The SDC supports this measure and is participating in the training of volunteer relief workers.
Morocco is often subject to earthquakes, flooding and landslides. Such events cause damage and very significant losses in the medinas (old districts), where the dwellings are huddled together or separated by narrow alleys. This makes the work of rescue teams difficult, as they struggle to reach victims quickly.
The idea behind volunteer neighbourhood disaster relief workers is to prepare the inhabitants of these districts to intervene rapidly in the event of a crisis. For example, if an earthquake occurs, past experience shows that the majority of survivors are rescued by neighbours, passers-by or family members before the professional teams have even arrived. However, these people know almost nothing of the methods and tools used in rescue operations. The aim is to train and equip them to deal with these situations.
Training relief workers
The teaching of theory is followed by numerous practical exercises. The relief workers are also provided with emergency rescue equipment (uniform, gloves, hydraulic pump, fire extinguishers, first aid kits, etc.). Once trained and equipped, these volunteers become vital links in the rescue chain, since they know their district and are well-placed to evacuate victims.
740 volunteers trained
At the end of 2012, there had been more than 50 interventions by volunteer relief workers, prompted by emergencies ranging from small fires to large floods. Those in charge of the project have raised the local population's awareness of the risks associated with natural disasters and other potential dangers (gas leaks, fires in factories or the craft workshops of the medinas). The project has proven its worth a number of times. Both the Moroccan authorities and civil society wish to extend it to other towns in the country.
Expanding the training
Brief description of the projectDomain
Preventing and preparing for disasters (Disaster Risk Reduction)
Current situation / background
Morocco is subject to natural hazards such as earthquakes, landslides and flooding, which regularly threaten the population. In the medinas, where access to affected populations is often difficult, intervention by the inhabitants themselves can make all the difference.
To build up Moroccan civilian capacity to respond in a crisis situation.
The inhabitants of the affected districts.
Additional Information and Documents
- Un seul monde 2/2013
Disponible seulement en Suisse
No. 2/2013: Pays émergents / Tadjikistan / Matières premières / Modernisation du système de santé mentale / Sauveteurs bénévoles qui interviennent en cas de catastr
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