Staff at the homeless center noticed that the woman was not at iftar and went to look for her. The 34-year-old was in the bathroom bleeding from the ears and nose.
Dorset – A Moroccan woman died on Thursday, May 14, at the Plaza de Toros Homeless Shelter in the Spanish enclave of Melilla in northern Morocco. An investigating judge ordered an autopsy to identify the cause of death, reports Melilla Hoy.
The 34-year-old Moroccan woman had been staying at the homeless shelter in Melilla after members of the Spanish Civil Guard found her wandering the streets nearly two weeks ago.
The woman was born in Morocco in 1986 and had worked as a domestic worker in Melilla. She lost her job 10 days before the incident after reporting her employers to the authorities. She was left homeless and unable to return to her home country.
Morocco closed the land border with Melilla on March 12, leaving any Moroccan citizens stuck on the other side of the border stranded.
The Moroccan woman was among 15 women at the Red Cross temporary accommodation center. The shelter hosts 200 Moroccan men and a group of sub-Saharan migrants. The charity set up the temporary shelter to house irregular migrants and the homeless during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Staff at the shelter discovered her body in the bathroom after noticing she was absent from the iftar table. The woman was bleeding from the nose and ears.
Emergency services and Red Cross staff attempted to resuscitate the woman but were unable to save her. The Civil Guard coroner attended the scene with the duty judge who ordered the removal of the body to the Purisima Cemetery for an autopsy.
Investigating officers believe the woman may have died from a heart attack. An autopsy will seek to identify the exact cause and circumstances of the woman’s death, according to sources cited in Melilla Hoy.
The injuries to the nose and ears could be the result of an accidental fall or could be the consequence of foul play, the Spanish news outlet reports.
The woman was not the only Moroccan citizen unable to return home after Morocco closed the land borders and suspended air and maritime travel to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The situation of the thousands of Moroccans marooned far from home has drawn criticism both at home and abroad, with European news outlets calling on the Moroccan government to take action.
On Tuesday, May 12, Spanish news agency EFE contrasted the Moroccan government’s swift and efficient facilitation of the repatriation of foreign nationals stranded in Morocco and the failure to respond to the plight of Moroccans citizens.
The Moroccan government estimated 27,850 nationals are stuck abroad.
EFE quoted diplomatic sources who said that, as of May 12, Morocco had allowed 84,449 stranded tourists to return home through the authorization of 532 special flights.
The repatriation flights came in response to the requests of thousands of foreign tourists, while calls from thousands of Moroccans stranded abroad in reportedly dire conditions remain unanswered.