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The Earthquake is Wake-Up Call for Morocco’s Development Policies

Wake-Up Call for Morocco's Development Policies

Dr. Muhammad Akram Zaheer

The big earthquake on Friday night in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco has once again shown two problems in the country. One is that some places, like the cities, are developing much faster and better than others, like the countryside. The other problem is that making important decisions in the country is slow and complicated.The first issue has been a problem for a long time. In the past, Morocco divided its lands into two parts: one controlled by the king and the other with less control from the government. Later, when the French were in charge, they divided Morocco into “useful” and “useless” parts. In both cases, the government focused on the “useful” areas and kind of ignored the rest.

This has left many areas, especially outside of popular places like Marrakesh, without good services like hospitals, schools, clean water, and electricity. This wasn’t because the people there didn’t try, but it happened because of government mistakes and not enough attention. The government chose to invest most of its money and resources in the areas that would make the most money, like the coastal areas. This means that places like the High Atlas Mountains were left behind. The government wanted to connect places that make a lot of stuff to places where it’s easy to ship those things out, so they focused on the coast. The High Atlas Mountains are very different from the coastal areas. The government has known about this problem for a long time, but they haven’t done much to fix it. This is partly because the people there don’t have much political power, and they haven’t protested as much as some other regions. Because of this, the government didn’t pay much attention to the High Atlas Mountains, and that’s one reason why the earthquake hit so hard there.

Now, when it’s really important to respond quickly to help the people affected by the earthquake, the government is having a hard time. One reason is that the king has a lot of control over everything in Morocco, and everyone has to wait for his orders. This slows things down a lot. Also, there’s not much political power outside of the king’s control, which makes it even harder to make decisions quickly and effectively. But even in this difficult situation, there is hope. The people in Morocco are coming together to help each other. Local communities, civil society groups, and international partners are all working together to provide support. This unity is the key to rebuilding and making the rural areas of Morocco stronger and better in the future.

The earthquake that struck Morocco serves as a poignant wake-up call for the nation’s development policies. This natural disaster has underscored the urgency of reevaluating and reshaping Morocco’s approach to sustainable development and disaster preparedness. It has revealed vulnerabilities in infrastructure, housing, and emergency response systems, highlighting the need for immediate action. Moving forward, Morocco must prioritize a holistic and proactive approach to development that integrates resilience to seismic events and other potential disasters. This includes investing in robust building standards, early warning systems, and community preparedness initiatives.

Additionally, sustainable urban planning and environmental conservation should be at the forefront of policy decisions to mitigate future risks. Ultimately, the earthquake serves as a stark reminder that the path to progress should not come at the expense of safety and sustainability. Morocco has the opportunity to transform its development policies, creating a safer, more resilient, and prosperous future for its citizens. By learning from this wake-up call, Morocco can pave the way for a more secure and sustainable future for generations to come.

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