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Morocco’s deadly earthquake triggers surge of solidarity in France

In a stark white room made available to the town hall of Châtillon, a village just south of Paris, a dozen women were hard at work on Sunday sorting through the donations that wouldn’t stop pouring in. Clothing, tents and quilts, as well as medicine and food, steadily filled up the large plastic bags that sat ready to receive them.

With the Moroccan diaspora in France estimated at 1.5 million people – roughly 670,000 of them dual nationals – the shock waves of the quake were felt keenly on the other side of the Mediterranean.

“It’s the country I was born in, and I grew up there, so obviously it affected me,” Fedoua explained in a thin voice, her arms cradling tote bags stuffed with clothing.It really shocked me. I think that it took me 24 hours to realise what had happened,” said Latifah, a woman in her 30s from northern Morocco. Having come here with her family to make a donation, she decided to give a few hours of her time to the volunteers overwhelmed by the success of their donation drive. It really warms my heart – everyone has mobilised for a good cause,” she said.

Beyond the Moroccan community, many French people are also feeling a sense of solidarity with the country, which was a French protectorate from 1912 to 1956. One of them is Boubou, who made the trip from the neighbouring town of Meudon to bring men’s clothes and medicine.

“It was important for me to support people in need,” the 31-year-old said. “I don’t have any connection to Morocco, but I think in these moments we’re all connected.”
Dounia Hannach is the young woman at the heart of this hastily organised donation drive. In 2018 she founded the Abajad association, which helps people find employment by offering targeted French language courses. With an Abajad office in Morocco, Hannach hopes to be able to quickly bring over the donations collected in France.

Source: France24

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