Morocco earthquake was a catastrophe for small-scale food producers

On Friday, September 8, a catastrophic earthquake struck the Al-Houz region of the High Atlas and the Taroudant and Ouarzazate villages, causing massive destruction and devastation. The death toll has almost reached 3,000, with thousands more injured and affected, and significant losses were sustained by livestock and crops. The magnitude of this catastrophe is enormous. Survivors are confronting multiple challenges in the aftermath of the catastrophic earthquake that obliterated the livelihoods of industrious individuals in the affected areas.

Specifically, residents of remote mountainous regions have been subjected to prolonged marginalization and isolation. During the colonial era, certain areas in Morocco were branded as unproductive and neglected, a label that persisted even after the country gained independence. The colonizers seized control of the most bountiful territories, depleting their resources before deserting them to be inhabited by subsequent groups. Nowadays, the food industry prizes maximizing profits as a commodity pursued by large corporations.

The remaining areas were privatized to primarily benefit big capitalist corporations, which led to the eviction of small-scale food producers from their lands and the stripping of their fundamental economic, social, political, and cultural rights.

The catastrophic earthquake has had a heart-wrenching impact on these communities, causing whole towns to disappear and leaving the survivors grappling with its aftermath. This tragedy has impacted small-scale farmers, shepherds, and native peoples in the region, who have suffered under policies implemented since gaining independence and stringent austerity measures imposed over the past four decades.

The government has not fulfilled its social obligations under these policies, worsening the already significant inequalities in meeting basic needs for a decent and respectable standard of living. The government has prioritized increasing subsidies for wealthy farmers and capitalists, neglecting the needs of villagers caught in a cycle of suffering and marginalization.

We sincerely support the families of the earthquake victims in Morocco and express our deepest condolences for the tragic incident they have endured.

The devoted people of Morocco persist in exhibiting their solidarity with earthquake victims by arranging public caravans to disseminate aid such as food, blankets, tents, and other essentials to those affected. These initiatives uncover the falsehoods that the government has spread to alleviate poverty, end isolation, and implement plans for rural development. Instead, the government instituted a policy that benefits only a select few individuals who are privileged and overlooks the masses. As a result, public funds have been misused for debt relief and futile endeavors that do not benefit hard working citizens.

Siyada Network supports the families affected by the recent earthquake in Morocco, offering heartfelt condolences and commending the selfless work of dedicated citizens aiding their distressed compatriots during this crisis.

Additionally, Siyada Network supports the implementation of worldwide programs and campaigns geared towards aiding small-scale farming communities affected by the earthquake in regions such as Al-Houz, Taroudant, Ouarzazate, and other areas.

We call upon local, regional, and international activist groups to unite in solidarity and collaboratively monitor the well-being of the injured and residents of the devastated villages. Our continued efforts should allow us to advocate for access to housing, infrastructure, and compensation for all losses to stabilize the lives of small-scale farmers in areas impacted by earthquakes.

The regional secretariat of Siyada Network

on September 13, 2023.

This statement was translated from Arabic.

You can also read it in French on the Link