Rising from the Rubble: Morocco’s Road to Recovery after the 2023 Earthquake

On September 8, 2023, a powerful earthquake of magnitude 6.8 struck Morocco. The epicenter was in the High Atlas Mountains, 71 kilometers (44 miles) southwest of Marrakesh. This was the largest earthquake to hit the country in more than 100 years. Homes, schools, hospitals and other medical and educational facilities were destroyed. The United Nations reported that roughly 300,000 people were likely affected by the earthquake. With nearly 3,000 deaths and 5,600 injured victims, it was a shattering tragedy.  

After witnessing their country experience so much loss, Lions in Morocco felt it was important to spread hope by serving students who had been impacted by this disaster. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the earthquake damaged or destroyed more than 500 schools and more than 50 boarding schools, suspending classes in approximately 40 municipalities. After emergency needs were met, additional assessments were completed in the region and Lions developed a plan to help youth return to school. 

Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) awarded the Lions in Morocco a US$100,000 Major Catastrophe Grant enabling them to install prefabricated classrooms and toilet blocks. In the village of Amzmiz, they will install twelve classrooms and three restrooms and in the village of Mejjat, they will install three classrooms and one restroom.  

“The devastation we’ve seen as a result of this earthquake is truly heartbreaking and impacted people of all ages,” says Lions Clubs International President Dr. Patti Hill. “We hope this grant project can bring a small bit of relief to the youth in the region, by rebuilding a place where they can gather to comfort each other as well as continue to learn.” 

Even in the most challenging circumstances, Lions are dedicated to helping communities rise from the rubble of disaster with hope and purpose. LCIF Disaster Relief Grants empower Lions to see beyond the devastation of these events and focus on serving their communities in meaningful ways. As the only global foundation serving Lions, LCIF is grateful to offer numerous grant options to support various stages of disaster relief operations thanks to the generosity of donors worldwide.  

“When disasters strike, Lions are among the first to respond to the needs of the people impacted,” LCIF Chairperson Brian Sheehan says. “Our members live and work in the region and will remain poised to help communities continue to rebuild after this tragedy. LCIF is proud to be able to support their efforts.”