Analysis: Twin tragedies of Libya and Morocco highlight differences | Earthquake News

by MMC
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The count of dead and missing from the two disasters that struck Libya And Morocco almost two weeks ago there were already more than 14,000. The final figure, when reached, will probably be much higher.

However, in the minds of many people around the world, the lines separating the two tragedies have become blurred.

Their natural causes and geographic proximity may go some way to giving them an appearance of similarity, but the marked differences between the two should be enough to separate them.

“People just need stories they can understand,” said German journalist and Libya analyst Mirco Keilberth, who covered the Morocco earthquake. “It is easier, if only psychologically, to combine the two.

“People need to understand what’s going on and, let’s face it, an earthquake in Morocco is easier to understand than the politics surrounding it. floods in Dernawhich disrupt any clear narrative.

Keilberth’s view can be illustrated by events in Libya. In Derna, beyond the rain, it was human error, laziness and greed this combined to make a natural disaster worse.


Complicated Libya

Perception is also key. For a global audience that has difficulty imagining the topography of disaster areas, The Moroccan High Atlas Mountains are easier to grasp.

Not only has the area been a popular tourist destination for years, but the police and military seem happy to work with journalists and local associations to provide relief.

In contrast, the Derna authorities, shaken by popular protest, limited access to the flooded area under the guise of civil protection, and ultimately forced the journalists to leave.

The reality is that Libya is complicated.

“The overarching issue is division,” said Riccardo Fabiani, North Africa project director for Crisis Group. “There are two governments and a number of militias vying for influence. »

In this environment, any report or analysis that might favor one faction over another risks upsetting a broader set of power networks and delicately balanced balances of power.

In Morocco, there is only one government and one king.

“Morocco is what I like to call ‘vertically integrated,’” Fabiani continued. “That is to say, when Mohammed VI says something, it happens; from the top to the bottom of society.

“That’s why we saw it after his return from France; levels of military aid and relief have increased significantly,” he added.

“There are many governance problems in Morocco, but it cannot be denied that the current king has laid more roads and developed the country’s infrastructure and health system far more than any of his predecessors.”


While making clear he was making no excuses for dams not being maintained or warnings being ignored, Fabiani said it was inevitable that there would be problems when Libya’s rival governments had to work together .

“People also tend to lose sight of how much water fell on Derna before the floods. It’s about dams and conflict, that’s true, but it’s also about climate change,” he said.

International alliances

In Morocco, while the kingdom is the subject of numerous criticisms for its slow to respond to offers of international supportaccess was eventually granted.

Although limited in numberteams from Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Spain and others eventually took to the field and worked with the Moroccan army.

However, the arrival of Israeli aid workers while French teams remained on the sidelines both served to cement Morocco’s new relationship with Israel and send a clear signal to Morocco’s former colonial occupier.

For Libya, and Benghazi in particular, international aid had more political significance.

Oil-rich Libya has hosted countless numbers of foreign groups since its revolution finally gave way to civil war and the current volatile standoff.

Egypt, which has long harbored ambitions for greater influence in eastern Libya, has deployed a significant number of rescuers. Likewise, help from Russia, whose Wagner paramilitary group has long been present in eastern Libya, did not take long to arrive.

Turkey, which has long sought greater influence in Libya, boasted that its teams remained present after the Spanish and Greek teams finished their work.

Questions for Morocco

Even though Morocco’s response can arguably be described as better than Libya’s, many still have questions.

“Morocco is really good at announcements,” said Intissar Fakir of the Middle East Institute. “The king and the government can welcome the relief plans they have just announced, but their implementation remains a problem. We need better and more planning regulation, and that could be a problem.

“Morocco is very fond of its heritage, and these adobe and terracotta houses are undeniably beautiful and warm in winter, but they need to be modernized, as do the roads. It’s going to require conversation, compromise and (it) could be complicated,” she added.

Additionally, while Rabat quickly established a single relief point, where bodies from around the world can donate for earthquake relief, the lack of a similar structure in Libya gives an indication of the chaos that reigns in the latter, said Fakir.

But, ultimately, while all of this speaks to the differences that divide the two, there is a greater bond that will forever bond them: the unimaginable loss each suffered during a week full of tragedy.


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