Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Relief efforts still an ongoing challenge: Xylem helps bring water to Morocco’s earthquake victims


To help bring ongoing relief to thousands of people affected by Morocco’s devastating Marrakesh–Safi earthquake last year, Xylem’s Watermark volunteers ( are working with Moroccan NGOs to deliver mobile water stations to impacted regions.

Working with NGO groups such as Amis des école, Xylem Watermark deployed several AquaBlock systems, an advanced emergency water system developed by global NGO Planet Water Foundation. Each AquaBlock can generate 1,500 litres per hour, which supports the daily drinking water requirements of up to 10,000 people.

On Friday, 8 September 2023, a 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck the country’s centre, less than 100 kilometres south of the major city of Marrakesh. The Marrakesh-Safi earthquake, also called the Al Haouz earthquake wrought widespread devastation, affecting over two million people, and causing more than 3,000 deaths, sadly leaving tens of thousands without access to shelter and basic facilities.

Relief agencies and volunteers, including Watermark, Xylem’s social investment group, sprung to action. By October, Xylem had begun contributing to the purchase and delivery of AquaBlock systems to the affected areas, collaborating with local NGOs and several Watermark volunteers who worked a collective 152 hours to ensure the AquaBlock systems delivered drinkable water to those in need.

“Water is one of the most critical needs at a disaster site,” says Hassan Ourkia, Sales Engineer at Xylem Africa. “It’s crucial for hydration, cooking food, hygiene, sanitation, and medical services. During a disaster such as an earthquake, major infrastructure damage means it can take months to reliably deliver clean water to affected areas. Meanwhile, the lack of clean water aggravates relief efforts and creates serious risks of water-borne diseases such as cholera. Xylem supports AquaBlock systems and brings them to countries like Morocco because we know they make an enormous difference.”

Xylem is committed to delivering AquaBlock systems to the disaster-struck areas, both through AquaBlocks funded directly by Xylem Watermark and via other means, such as logistical support. For example, Xylem collaborates with Planet Water to identify applicable sites, and deliver and install AquaBlock units, including systems funded by other companies. To date, Xylem and Planet Water have deployed six AquaBlocks to the disaster area.

Even though more than six months have passed since the Marrakesh-Safi earthquake, much still needs to be done to help the disaster victims recover. Xylem and its partners are still at work and continue to revisit the situation, including on-site inspections, to find new and novel ways to improve prospects for the region’s people.

“Through this response we learned the true importance of collaboration, as our Xylem Morocco team and local NGO partner, Amis des Ecoles, provided essential on-the-ground intelligence and expertise that enabled our global Humanitarian Disaster Response team and partner Planet Water to mobilise and import water treatment technology that continues to benefit communities impacted by the Earthquake, today,” said Emma Housman – Manager, Community&Social Impact at Xylem Inc.

This approach forms part of Xylem’s social pillar: to work together and create a world where reliable, clean water is available to anyone who needs it. Whether it’s a natural disaster or another cause behind reduced water security, Xylem aims to be there and support those people and organisations who want to secure clean water for all.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Xylem.

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