Morocco: Assisting immigrants bound for Europe

Pressure from the European Union for Morocco to more tightly control the migration of people from sub-Saharan nations has led the Moroccan government to adopt legislative and security measures which have a negative impact on the situation of immigrants lacking legal documentation.

The police carry out frequent raids to find these immigrants and sometimes they are expelled to desert areas within the country without food or water. These people are already very vulnerable due to the clandestine conditions in which they live in the country. Among them, there are especially vulnerable groups such as women, children and severely sick people.

At present, MSF is focusing attention on sub-Saharan undocumented immigrants based in Tangiers and its surrounding areas. In Tangiers, the MSF team works in three locations. In Tangiers city, MSF runs a clinic in the city center and makes home visits in hostels and private houses where undocumented immigrants seek shelter. MSF also uses mobile clinics in the surrounding neighborhood of Massnana to carry out patient consultations and referrals.

Finally, in forested areas, MSF operates mobile clinics to conduct consultations, refer patients and provide humanitarian aid including shelter, hygiene kits, and more.

At the same time, MSF works with health authorities to get undocumented sub-Saharan immigrants included in vertical health programs (including antenatal and post-natal care, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and others). MSF also tries to raise awareness about this group's vulnerable situation among Moroccan authorities and organizations.

Responding to the earthquake emergency

On 24 February 2004 an earthquake hit the northern region of Al Hoceima. An MSF team went into the area to assist the affected population. The team distributed 2,000 blankets and plastic sheeting to families that had lost their homes and had to sleep outdoors. These materials were also distributed in surrounding villages affected by the earthquake.

MSF evaluated the situation of the local health care structures. Our analysis showed that the medical response was good and the system had enough personnel and drugs to handle the situation. Despite the chaos, the health care structures operated without problems.