Morocco’s embassy and consulates are closing monitoring registered citizens who are stranded in the European country during the COVID-19 crisis.
Rabat – Moroccan Ambassador to Belgium Mohamed Ameur announced today that Morocco’s diplomatic representations in Brussels, Liege, and Antwerp are “fully mobilized” to help Moroccan citizens in Belgium through the challenges of the coronavirus crisis.
The North African country’s embassy and consulates in Belgium have taken measures to assist the approximately 910 Moroccans who found themselves stranded in the country after both Morocco and Belgium decided to suspend international flights and close their borders, Ameur told Maghreb Arab Press (MAP).
The diplomatic and consular services have mobilized their resources to assist local Moroccans with emergency support and through an awareness-raising campaign, according to the ambassador. Moroccan representatives are providing special care for people with reduced mobility, in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation, and Moroccans Residing Abroad, Ameur added.
The diplomatic representations created a monitoring unit to support Moroccan citizens, as have the country’s other embassies and consulates across the globe. The unit consistently monitors the status of those Moroccans affected, reviewing records of stranded citizens and registered residents on a daily basis. The embassy and consulates in Belgium have also publicized, through Moroccan organizations and the Belgian press, telephone hotlines and email contacts for any Moroccans requiring assistance.
These services are available not only for stranded tourists, but also for Moroccan students at Belgian schools, the ambassador said. The diplomatic representations have welcomed contact and expressed their willingness to offer assistance to all registered Moroccan citizens in the country, according to Ameur.
The embassy and consulates are proactively contacting Moroccans in the country to monitor their situations, especially in terms of health, the diplomat said. Morocco is offering various types of support to its citizens in need, including accommodations, medical assistance, financial aid, and assistance with food, Ameur continued.
Morocco’s diplomatic missions are also assisting with procedures to extend short-term visas for stranded Moroccans, in cooperation with the appropriate immigration and tourism authorities in both Brussels and Luxembourg City, the ambassador explained.
Ameur stressed that the embassy and consulates are ensuring that deceased Moroccans in Belgium are buried in cemeteries in plots reserved for Muslims, in line with Islamic burial rituals, through coordination with authorities at local levels.
The measure comes after Morocco’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation, and Moroccans Residing Abroad announced on April 3 that it will cover the burial costs of low-income Moroccans, and those without Islamic funeral insurance, who die abroad during the COVID-19 crisis. International travel restrictions mean that it is impossible to repatriate the remains of the deceased to their home country, the ambassador recalled.
Ameur added that 97 Moroccan residents in Belgium have died from coronavirus infections to date.