With winter coming, Moroccan authorities are taking measures to support populations in remote areas and ensure access to food and health care.
The Ministry of Interior established the plan in 2007 to assist populations affected by cold waves. The plan includes supplying the target villages with commodities, heating, and livestock feed, as well as linking them to telecommunication systems.
The plan also ensures the intervention of Royal Gendarmerie’s rescue helicopters to help people in cases of emergency, such as women giving birth.
The aim of these emergency interventions is to provide health care, especially in areas where no health facilities are available, Laftit explained.
Also included in the vision, according to the minister, is the deployment of medical units of Morocco’s Royal Armed Forces in the towns of Azilal and Midelt, a mobile hospital in the town of Imilchil (central Morocco), as well as medical caravans and field visits to all the target villages.
Pregnant women, elderly people, and people suffering from chronic diseases living in remote villages will receive medical monitoring thanks to the plan, added the minister.
So far, authorities, in collaboration with civil society, have distributed food and blankets to shelters, students dormitories, boarding schools, hospitals, health centres, and orphanages in a number of the target villages.
The plan comes as Morocco expects a wave of mild and heavy snowfall in a number of provinces in the coming weeks.
On November 30, Morocco’s National Meteorological Directorate predicted a wave of cold weather and mild snowfall in several provinces around the country on December 2-3.
Morocco has a mixed experience with snowfall and the ensuing strong weather. While cold waves increase tourism in snowy provinces such as Ifrane, remote villages in mountainous areas suffer from the lack of infrastructures, as roads can remain blocked by the snow for several weeks.
In line with this year’s national plan to mitigate the negative effects of the cold wave, local authorities in remote villages have also arranged landing pads for helicopters in case of emergencies, added Laftit.
The plan is an inter-ministerial effort, with the High Commission for Water and Forests distributing firewood, the Ministry of Agriculture subsidizing livestock feed, and the Ministry of Equipment, Transport, and Logistics mobilizing snow removal equipment to open regional and provincial roads.