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Morocco unveils rehousing programme for quake-hit areas

n this handout photo taken on September 14, 2023, Moroccan King Mohammed VI chairs a working meeting on quake recovery at the royal palace in Rabat   -  
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Morocco announced the launch of an aid programme on Thursday to support and rehouse the residents of about 50,000 buildings damaged in last week's devastating earthquake.

The magnitude 6.8 earthquake -- Morocco's strongest ever -- has killed nearly 3,000 pople and injured more than 5,600 since it hit last Friday in Al-Haouz province, south of tourist hub Marrakesh.

Those left homeless will be provided with temporary shelter in "structures designed to withstand cold and bad weather, or in reception sites equipped with all the necessary amenities", the royal office said in a statement following a meeting chaired by King Mohamed VI.

The Moroccan authorities have also ordered urgent aid of 30,000 dirhams (nearly $3,000) to households affected by the disaster, the statement added.

It said this would form the first stage of a programme covering some 50,000 homes that had fully or partially collapsed in the quake.

The number of people left without homes by the quake, which has devastated numerous entire villages in Morocco's Atlas mountain region, is not known.

The royal office said 140,000 dirhams (about $13,600) would be allocated for homes that were completely collapsed, in addition to 80,000 dirhams to rebuild partially collapsed structures.

Morocco has allowed rescue teams to come to its aid from Spain, Britain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, but so far declined offers from several other nations, including the United States, France and some Middle Eastern countries.

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