Ottawa Moroccan Community Mobilizes Support for Earthquake Victims at Home

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The Moroccan community in Ottawa is rallying to extend their support to those suffering in the aftermath of a catastrophic earthquake in their homeland. The distressing visuals and insomnia-inducing tales of destruction emerging from the region have spurred a surge in community-led aid efforts.

Ilham Chabi, an Ottawa-based real estate agent and Moroccan native, is at the forefront of these efforts. The distressing event hit close to home for Chabi; she had visited the country a few weeks prior to the seismic incident and was conversing with her sister, who still resides there, when the disaster unraveled.

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Shaken by the events, Chabi sought to mobilize support, appealing for donations in the form of blankets, tents, and warm clothing. She emphasized that while new articles are preferred, she appreciates any clean, well-maintained items that people can spare. A part of her collaborative effort involves working with cargo companies and local bodies in Marrakech, responsible for circulating the collected donations among communities nestled in the elevated terrains of the mountains.

The plea for contributions is open until September 14, from 5 to 9 p.m., at Dymon Storage in Barrhaven, located at 1000 McGarry Terr, 251 Hepatica Way in Orléans, and 201-78 Dollard des Ormeaux in Gatineau. Urgent requirements include warm clothing and undergarments for all ages, footwear, bedding, towels, and tents.

Echoing Chabi’s concerns about the escalating crisis is Khalid Bouazza, the owner of the Moroccan Market Centre. Bouazza, who will also be making a donation, heaved a sigh of relief upon learning that his family was unscathed in the calamity. However, his worries persist for those in the mountainous regions where immediate aid is not accessible, particularly with winter looming on the horizon.

Haunted by these concerns, Chabi is poised to return to Morocco within the week, armed with a grit-fuelled resolve to ameliorate the situation as best she can. “I know it’s going to be a challenge. I know it’s going to be difficult,” she acknowledged, adding, “I’m not a superhero, I’m not going to get to every single part of those towns. I might not even be able to reach certain points but I’ll be able to connect with local organizations, I’ll be able to help with the people and I really wanted to do it.”

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Melinda Cochrane is a poet, teacher and fiction author. She is also the editor and publisher of The Inspired Heart, a collection of international writers. Melinda also runs a publishing company, Melinda Cochrane International books for aspiring writers, based out Montreal, Quebec. Her publication credits include: The art of poetic inquiry, (Backalong Books), a novella, Desperate Freedom, (Brian Wrixon Books Canada), and 2 collections of poetry; The Man Who Stole Father’s Boat, (Backalong Books), and She’s an Island Poet, Desperate Freedom was on the bestseller's list for one week, and The Man Who Stole Father’s Boat is one of hope and encouragement for all those living in the social welfare system. She’s been published in online magazines such as, (regular writer for) ‘Life as a Human’, and Shannon Grissom’s magazine.