Bishop Paul Swarbrick, Lead Bishop for Africa for the Bishops’ Conference, has expressed the solidarity of the Church of England and Wales with the people of Morocco and Libya who have been devastated in recent days by two natural disasters.
An earthquake struck Morocco last Friday, 8 September, killing more than 2,800 people, while on 13 September, the port city of Derna, Libya, was hit by floods known to have killed more than 11,000 people, with many more still missing.
Bishop Swarbrick said:
“The people of Morocco and Libya are in our prayers. We are deeply concerned for those whose lives have been shattered by these tragedies.
“Communities have been ripped apart, homes have been destroyed, loved ones have been killed or gone missing and tens of thousands have been displaced across north Africa and beyond. We pray for all of those who are suffering so greatly at this time.”
The floods in Derna, Libya, occurred after Storm Daniel hit on 10 September, leading to a huge amount of rainfall which caused two crucial dams to burst, as well as the ruin of several bridges.
The earthquake in Morocco is the deadliest in 60 years, causing destruction, in particular, to the remote towns and villages in the High Atlas Mountains, south of Marrakesh.
Caritas Morocco is providing aid to the population in the city of Amizmiz, one of the worst areas affected by the earthquake, as well as some of the surrounding villages.
Bishop Swarbrick commended the work of the Catholic charities and agencies who have responded so quickly to the emergencies, as well as other NGOs and those who continue to give generously.
“The work of Caritas Morocco has been invaluable in giving support to the people of Morocco in this time of crisis. Catholic charities all across the world are often on the scene of tragedy as quickly as possible, lending a helping hand to those most in need.
“I thank all those who work in such charities, and those who donate. Please continue to give generously, and to keep the people of Morocco and Libya in your prayers.”
Bishop Swarbrick’s words echoed those of Pope Francis, with the Holy Father saying of the Moroccan earthquake:
“My thoughts also go to the noble Moroccan people who have suffered these movements of the earth, these earthquakes”.
Pope Francis also said about Libya:
“My thoughts go to the people of Libya, hard hit by violent rains that have caused flooding and inundation, causing numerous deaths and injuries, as well as extensive damage.”
You can donate to Caritas Morocco’s earthquake appeal: https://www.caritas.org/earthquake-morocco-2/.
CAFOD has a form allowing you to donate to support the Libya floods relief effort: https://cafod.org.uk/give/donate-to-emergencies?form=libyafloodsappeal.