In its most condemnatory remarks, the World Bank consistently reproached Morocco for its apparent lack of a coherent set of policies to face natural hazards
Rabat – Last week’s floods which killed 7 people in the Taroudant province and caused severe damage in several other areas in southern Morocco have turned the spotlight on the World Bank pointing fingers at the Moroccan government, and raising concerns on the country’s apparently inefficient approach to crisis management when faced with natural disasters.
In a scathing report published in April 2016, the World Bank pointed to the lack of coherent vision and continuity in Morocco’s crisis management methodologies.
Recalling the three-year-old report, Arabic newspaper Al Ahdath Al Maghribia indicated in its September 2 issue that the unfurling of the recent, unfortunate events in southern Morocco came with a painful reminder of many of the points the World Bank raised in that appraisal of natural disaster management in Morocco.
According to the Casablanca-based newspaper, the World Bank’s report pointed out that a number of recent—sometimes similar—natural disasters in various Moroccan regions have shown that the country is not sufficiently ready to face recurring patterns of critical, natural hazards.
For the World Bank, according to Al Ahdath Al Maghribia, the repeated issuing of new “urgent measures” to deal with similar crises in different locations is an indication that there is no proactive, beforehand designed roadmap to immediately respond to challenges as soon as they emerge.
The report describes Morocco’s approach as “reactionary” rather than “responsive,” arguing that, more often than not, Morocco’s response to natural disasters like floods bears the markers of “improvised reactions” instead of well-planned, in-advance, and carefully considered policies.
Despite lambasting the Moroccan government for what it sees as irresponsible and incoherent response to recurrent crises, the report was ambivalent on some points.
It acknowledged the “immense efforts” Morocco has made on the environment and climate change front and praised the country’s recent political reforms meant to further political accountability and improve government responsiveness to nationwide challenges.
It maintained, however, that more collective efforts, coordinated actions are needed from the authorities to mitigate the consequences of environment-linked disasters.
Without sounding alarmist, the report noted that, as the climate crisis becomes an integral reality of countries around the world, incidents similar to the Taroudant events are bound to happen.
Because of the inherent, multiple risks and natural hazards associated with climate change, the report noted, the Moroccan government should show more willingness and resolve to devise more effective policies to adequately manage, respond to, or even altogether preempt such events.
In its most condemnatory remarks, the World Bank consistently reproached Morocco for its apparent lack of a coherent set of policies to face natural hazards. The report referred to the responses to the Taroudant and other such events in recent years across the country as “institutionalized disorder.”
The poignantly critical assessment is consistent with the reactions and comments from family of victims and eyewitnesses in Taroudant. After the floods hit the province last Thursday, many local residents fumed at the government and the local authorities for neglect.
They complained about local authorities’ failure to take into account alerts to the high-risk nature of the football field where 7 people died when the floods hit, as well as serious warnings, days prior to the floods, that southern Morocco would be engulfed by heavy storms on August28-29.