11th of September
After the contact yesterday with local authorities in a remote area north of Taroudant, where a lot of isolated villages are still waiting for the rescue and supply, of a member of the team knowledge, the Surf Maroc Volunteer Team put the first relief convoy in action in the morning.
Some went to collect in the area of Taghazout what family and relatives wanted to donate. In contrast, others went to Agadir for the supply shopping and collect the tent and equipment ordered the night before. Trying to fill the vans with all essentials like tents, blankets, and food, stood ready.
By 4 p.m., the team was complete and the vans were full – we hit the road.
The journey, which was expected to be straightforward, took a turn as blocked roads extended the travel time: 6 hours in, we reached the Tizintast checkpoint. We cannot go further, all the accesses are blocked as the roads are too dangerous, and too many civilians are trying to pass.
We found our contact in the local Authorities who informed us they were clearing the way and we needed to wait. Lots of volunteers are working with the Authorities to clear the road so villages can be accessed.
It was almost midnight when we got the green light. The road has been cleared and is secured enough for us to go. Another 30 minutes later, we got to the end of the track. The road had been cleaned but is still pretty damaged and full of rocks and gravel – we are going slowly.
We are only a couple of kilometers away from the village but the last bit is still blocked – We found a safe spot to park the vehicles and set up a tent for the night. We will have to cover the last km by foot tomorrow.
12th of September
At 8 AM, with the path to the Douar (rural village) still obstructed, we strategized our next steps. The road is not clear but after confirming with the authorities its safe for us to engage, we decided to take on the supplies by foot. By 10 AM, the first trip to the Douar was completed.
As more vehicles reach the blocked track with supplies, we start discussing and organizing with the Authorities to bring in an excavator to clear the way.
By noon, the path was clear. We are not alone here, more vehicles arrived in the morning, answering the call for help that had been sent around, and the distribution of supplies began in earnest.
During the next 4 hours, we will unload vehicles, split food, equipment, and supplies, and set up tents.
The emotions to be there on the ground, to be able to make a difference, and to meet with those people affected by this tragic event but who are still standing is clearing all the tiredness and exhaustion of the past few days.
So many people joined to help, to bring what they could to support the community. Some thoughts about bringing toys for the kids, who are all giving us a lesson about life by finding a way to play and laugh even after such a traumatic event
The women of the village prepared couscous and food for everyone to share. Support comes in all forms. Sharing glasses of tea, it is also time for them to tell us their stories.
We take the road back to Taghazout around 6 p.m.
13th of September
Following the last couple of days’ news, updates, actions, and information we have been receiving, we are organizing our next actions
The village we reached yesterday, Ait Tiougua in the Tizintast region, connects to lots of other Douars around, some of them not accessible by road (even before the event) therefore it is becoming a hub for the surrounding Douars to come to collect supplies.
Rain and wind are coming in the region very soon so the next order of action is to deliver warm clothes, cooking equipment, and more tents (we are having them made by a local supplier) in addition to hygiene products and 1st aid supply. We will be purchasing and collecting those items for the next 36 hours and will hit the road on Friday, the 15th early morning.
15th of September
A team of 14 volunteers and 3 fully loaded vans from purchased and the additional donation we received at the shop, took the road early morning.
By Noon, we reached the mountain but Authorities were guarding the access: Civilians cannot engage anymore on the Tizintast road – the road that crosses the mountain and links all the Douars – for security reasons. We knew this would be happening soon, that’s why we put all our energy into making today’s convoy count.
1hr later, we got an official document provided by the Authorities allowing us to continue to the douar of Ait Tiouga.
We reached the Douar around 3 p.m. – the emotions of being there again, the welcome we received, and the sense of community that took us all cannot be described. We soon started unloading the vans with everyone so all supplies could be organized and conveyed where needed or to be stored in a communal tent. Tents are assembled as kids are running around. We are all taking a lesson there, how life always finds a way to continue.
By the time we leave at night, each family in the Douar has their own tent to shelter with clothes, food, hygiene products, and equipment.
16th of September
We are in contact with Ait Tiouga, as we went there in the first place as they reached out to one of us they have known for a very long time. As the King announces some great funds to help rebuild all the damaged areas, we hope they will soon have better shelter than our tents.
We will remain in touch with them and, as things settle down and roads get safe again for us to move freely in the region, we will go back and if needed provide more support to help to start again. Remain sure though, that they have been living in the mountains for generations, and are more resilient and resourceful than you and us – they taught us some lessons and humbled us.
We will not accept donations any longer. The remaining funds will be allocated for a trip at a later stage to provide what has been overlooked at that point. If any funds remain after that, we will be allocating them to local associations we have been working with for years, that are on the ground providing resources and volunteers to isolated communities.
Thank you all for your amazing efforts, kind words, and generosity. You made it possible for us to help this country we call home. We are proud to be part of such a community 💙
Photos by Anas Fa