A group of almost two hundred Moroccan-Dutch doctors and other medical workers want to join forces to assist victims in Morocco. In response to the great enthusiasm among colleagues, Ali Lahdidioui, chairman of the Association of Moroccan Doctors in the Netherlands (AMAN), is making an inventory of how doctors can take action.
Through a call on LinkedIn, AMAN has come into contact with more than 180 doctors and healthcare providers so far, who are prepared to provide assistance in the affected area at short notice. “Contact has been made with the authorities and we are currently waiting for the green light to further develop these plans,” says Lahdidioui.
“Emotionally, of course, you want to get there as quickly as possible,” he continues. “But as a physician organization, we have decided to act thoughtfully and do what we do best: provide appropriate and adequate medical care.”
Because just coming to Morocco with a large group of doctors to provide care is not possible. The collective is awaiting permission from the Moroccan authorities. “The last thing you want is to get in each other’s way. In addition, it is necessary to know which help is needed most.”
AMAN is therefore working together with the Dutch Association of Muslim Pharmacists (NVMA), among others, on applying for permits and arranging practical matters, for example regarding medication and medical equipment. They seek advice, among other things, from Telegram groups with people who were active after the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.
With the contacts that Lahdidioui and his colleagues have in Morocco, they try to remotely support acute trauma care and analyze exactly what medical assistance is needed. AMAN, in collaboration with the Red Cross, is exploring how the organizations can assist each other in providing aid.
We also know, from previous disasters, that there are shortages of basic needs: food, hygiene and water. There is a high risk of infections.
Abdelali Bentohami, a Dutch surgeon with Moroccan roots, has also offered medical help in Morocco. With his foundation Santé Pour Tous (Health for Everyone, ed.) he provides care more often in Morocco. His medical team is also waiting for the green light from the authorities. “Just going there on spec doesn’t seem like a good plan to us,” Bentohami writes on LinkedIn.
To combine forces
Nordin Dahhan, a pediatrician who emigrated to Tangier, in northern Morocco, is one of the doctors who plans to go to the affected area under the AMAN banner.
He himself also shared a call for help. “I have fifty Moroccan doctors, specialists and nurses from the Netherlands and Belgium who have indicated that they want to participate,” said Dahhan. “But first I will go to Taroudant and Al Haouz, the regions with areas that are difficult to reach. I want to see what help is needed on the ground and how we can help.”
Lahdidioui and his colleagues from AMAN are currently considering semi-acute assistance. “Trauma relief, that’s what hospitals are for. But we also know from previous disasters that there are shortages of basic needs: food, hygiene and water. There is a high risk of infections and we want to provide support for that.”
The chairman also wants to keep an eye on the long-term consequences. “It is not a sprint but a marathon. And afterwards, a lot of attention will be needed for psychological guidance to process all of this. We are pleased to be able to help and to see that progress is being made, but it is only the beginning. “
In the regions of Al Haouz and Taroudant, where by far the most deaths have occurred and which are the most difficult to reach for assistance, Dahhan and Lahdidioui see the most opportunities to provide medical assistance. There are villages in the Atlas Mountains that have been completely destroyed, and images of which are only now emerging.
More than 2,000 people have been killed in Morocco so far. In many places people are still being pulled from the rubble.
Asni is such a mountain village, almost completely destroyed and with many missing people:
- First initiatives for aid to Morocco launched: ‘Something must be done’
- Dutch Moroccans try (in vain) to reach family
- Death toll from Morocco earthquake rises to over 2,000