China and Morocco: Good friends stand together in times of adversity

By Zhou Zhou, People’s Daily

A 6.8 magnitude quake struck southern parts of Morocco at midnight local time on Sept. 8, causing heavy casualties and property losses.

On Sept. 9, Chinese President Xi Jinping extended condolences to Moroccan King Mohammed VI over the devastating earthquake. On behalf of the Chinese government and people, the Chinese president mourned deeply for the victims and expressed sincere sympathies to the bereaved families and the injured.

Xi also expressed his belief that under the leadership of His Majesty the king, the Moroccan government and people will be able to overcome the impact of the disaster and rebuild their homeland at an early date.

“When Morocco was hit by the disaster, Xi’s concern and condolences made us feel the warm support that the Chinese people offer to the Moroccan people. It shows the friendship and mutual assistance between the two peoples and their support in the face of disasters,” said Nasser Bouchiba, president of the Africa-China Cooperation Association for Development in Morocco.

“The concern of our Chinese friends will inspire us, giving us the confidence and strength to carry out rescue efforts and rebuild our homes,” Bouchiba added.

Bouchiba told People’s Daily that shortly after the earthquake occurred, King Mohammed VI ordered the Moroccan military to join the relief efforts and set up field hospitals, and he convened an emergency rescue meeting. Currently, rescue operations are being carried out in an orderly manner, Bouchiba said.

Mohamed Khalil, President of the Morocco-China Friendship and Exchange Association, noted that Xi was one of the first foreign heads of state to extend condolences to King Mohammed VI, which mirrored the profound friendship between Morocco and China.

“During times of adversity, Chinese friends would always offer a helping hand, promptly coming to the aid of other nations and helping them navigate through challenging situations. Countless examples of such generosity can be found, ” said Khalil.

In a hospital in Ben Guerir, a town in central Morocco, doctors of a Chinese medical team in Morocco have successfully delivered many babies after the quake. The hospital is the closest medical facility to the epicenter where a Chinese medical team is stationed.

Chinese doctor Ma Nan said that due to the limited local medical resources, the medical team is facing a heavier workload than before.

“Risking the danger of potential aftershocks, we have performed multiple surgeries here,” Ma added.

“We have felt the warm support from our Chinese friends,” said Khalil, expressing his gratitude.

In addition to the Chinese medical team’s efforts, the Red Cross Society of China provided emergency humanitarian assistance to the Moroccan Red Crescent shortly after the earthquake. The China International Development Cooperation Agency expressed its willingness to provide emergency humanitarian aid based on the needs of the affected people.

Besides, some Chinese-funded enterprises and overseas Chinese in Morocco have also taken action, spontaneously donating money and providing necessary assistance to the affected areas.

“All of these demonstrate that Morocco and China are good friends who stand together in times of adversity and are good partners in common development,” Khalil said.

Hanane Thamik from Morocco, a PhD student at Wuhan University, told People’s Daily that many of her teachers, schoolmates and friends in China extended condolences to her after the earthquake took place and asked her if she needed any help, which deeply touched her.

She hopes that Morocco and China can carry out in-depth cooperation in earthquake warning systems and other advanced quake-prevention and disaster-relief technologies, so as to better protect the lives and property of the two peoples.

“Under the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China, China has demonstrated remarkable resilience in the face of major natural disasters, providing valuable experiences and insights for post-disaster recovery and reconstruction efforts to the international community. We hope to introduce Chinese technologies and experiences in post-disaster reconstruction to improve efficiency, particularly in remote rural areas,” said Bouchiba.

“We believe that Morocco can definitely restore normal orders of work and life with the firm assistance from our Chinese friends,” he noted.