Soon after notifying Morocco Animal Aid (MAA) that they were a recipient of one of our Africa-Based Animal Welfare Organization Grants, Morocco experienced a devastating earthquake. The epicenter of the September 8th earthquake was in the rural area of the High Atlas Mountains, where thousands of homes and animal barns were destroyed. Most of the animal food that had been stored in barns was lost under the rubble. As rains and winter hit the earthquake-affected area, grazing became impossible and local communities struggled to feed their animals.
On November 11, MAA Grants Coordinator, Pommelien, visited the rural commune of Imegdal, where local community members told her that their priority need for their animals was fodder. Pommelien identified several villages that were most in need of fodder and a plan was developed.
MAA's role would be to deliver bales of dried alfalfa, perfect in these conditions since it's high in protein, fiber, calcium, and contains healthy fats. Moroccan Biodiversity and Livelihoods Association (MBLA) and Global Diversity Foundation (GDF), both of which work in the affected area and have long standing relationships with the communities and local authorities, helped identify the families who own livestock and the number of animals affected. They also helped ensure that all necessary authorizations were received prior to the distribution.
AKI donors got in touch and told us they wanted to help the animals affected by the earthquake. With their donations, we sent a special project grant to MAA for their disaster response efforts.
On December 8, Pommelien accompanied one of MAA's hay distributions. That day, they delivered 110 bales of dried alfalfa, benefiting 61 households and over 100 animals across three villages: Ait Chrah, Tizirt, and Aguerd. (The pictures in this blog post are from that distribution day).
During the field operation, MAA noticed that one village, Aguerd, had many cats, some of whom seemed malnourished and may have had worms. MAA wanted to help the cats and so they distributed 32 packs of cat food (300g) to cat owners in Aguerd. The small packages they handed out were in compostable cartons, which will reduce the waste, especially difficult to deal with in the post-earthquake conditions and mountainous terrain. Plus it made distribution easier to the many cat owners, who were all very excited to receive the food. MAA also gave de-worming treatments to six cats, and left the rest of the de-wormers with the village authorities for the future.
In total, the grant provided:
- De-worming treatment for 32 cats
- 32 packs of cat food (300g)
- 52 bales of dried alfalfa hay
That made for many satiated and happy animals and many relieved animal owners.