It has now been a week since an earthquake struck the south of Morocco. First aid operations were launched last week and today the Moroccan community in Hoofddorp is still working hard to get items to the victims.
Today, Said Akkabi is doing everything he can to collect as much stuff as possible for the earthquake in Morocco. “The people there have lost everything. Their house, their belongings, their family, everything is gone.”
He is the chairman of the Marhaba foundation, which provides help and support to people with a non-Western background who have settled in Haarlemmermeer. He is now using that network to collect items for the victims of the earthquake today: “Everyone in Haarlemmermeer is welcome, we have to help those poor people out.”
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The first goods were delivered yesterday and are now waiting in a corner of his living room. “They need all kinds of things there: mattresses, duvets, medicine. Tents too, because sleeping under a roof is risky.”
He knows exactly what they need from other Hoofddorp residents who have traveled to the earthquake area to help, including from the mosque of which Akkabi is part.
There is great solidarity in the Moroccan community in Hoofddorp, even though the majority come from the sparse north of the country. Akkabi sees this now, but also when an earthquake hit Turkey a few months ago and they started a collection: “Generosity gives you energy, even in a situation like this.”
“Children, mothers, fathers, babies: sometimes they are the only ones left”
Nora Belaini (25), who held a fundraiser with friends last Monday, recognizes this. “You see the images passing by. Children, mothers, fathers, babies: sometimes they are the only ones left. Then you get goosebumps and tears in your eyes. You are torn.”
As Dutch people with a Moroccan background, the collectors felt extra motivated to take action. “We grew up in the Netherlands, but it is the country where you spent a large part of your youth, where you want to bring your child and where your grandfather and grandmother are buried. That bond will always remain.”
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Countless people came by through the flyers they distributed, but also through hear and say. Within 24 hours they had loaded two buses with, among other things, diapers, needles, air mattresses, tents, blankets and 1,300 euros. The Najiba Foundation transported the items last Tuesday. “We will soon start a new collection,” says Nora.