Bishops in Africa in “complete solidarity” with Libya, Morocco after Floods, Earthquake

Logo Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM). Credit: SECAM

Members of the Symposium of Episcopal Conference of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) have said they are in “complete solidarity” with the people of God in Morocco and Libya following the natural disasters in the two Northern African countries earlier this month. 

A 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit parts of Morocco on the night of September 8, resulting in the death of at least 2,946 people and leaving 6,125 others injured, according to media reports.

Meanwhile, at least 5,000 died and more than 30,000 displaced following deadly floods when Mediterranean Storm Daniel hit Libya on September 12, according to the British Red Cross.

In a Monday, September 25 statement addressed to the Archbishop of Rabat in Morocco, Cristobal Lopez Cardinal Romero, and Catholic Bishops in North Africa, SECAM members say they were “shocked” to see images of the natural disasters in the two countries.  

“We would like to express our complete solidarity with you while assuring you of our prayers at this difficult time,” Catholic Bishops in Africa say in the statement that SECAM President, Fridolin Cardinal Ambongo of Kinshasa Archdiocese in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) signed.


SECAM members express “sincere condolences to all the families who have lost loved ones, while expressing our compassion and our solidarity with them in this ordeal they are facing.” 

“May the God of mercy welcome into his eternal home those who have lost their lives and grant comfort and consolation to the bereaved families. Please accept, Eminence and their Excellencies, the expression of my fraternal feelings,” Cardinal Ambongo says on behalf of Catholic Bishops in Africa.

Mediterranean Storm Daniel caused flooding in many towns of Eastern Libya. Derna city has been most affected by the tragedy after two dams outside the city collapsed following the floods. 

“In a city of 100,000 people, entire neighborhoods are thought to have been swept away, with waves reaching three meters in some places. Cars are submerged beneath the flood waters and buildings have collapsed, with bridges and buildings damaged as torrents of water rushed through the street,” the British Red Cross reported on September 13.

Meanwhile, on September 22, Morocco’s Minister of Interior reported that the earthquake had damaged 2,930 villages, home to 2.8 million people, in the High Atlas mountains.

More in Africa

Minister Faouzi Lekjaa said that plans were underway for the Moroccan government to give 2,500 dirhams ($245) monthly over a year in aid to families affected by the natural disaster. Another 140,000 dirhams ($13,754) is to be given to those whose homes were completely destroyed and 80,000 dirhams($7,859) provided for families with partially damaged houses, the Moroccan Minister is quoted as saying in the September 22 Business Insider Africa report.

On September 14, Cardinal Romero expressed gratitude for the “outpouring of solidarity” that the people of Morocco have received since the deadly earthquake struck.

The Archbishop of Rabat also called for the coordination of humanitarian services in the country.

Pope Francis has offered Morocco “prayerful communion” and expressed “his deep solidarity with those who are touched in their flesh and their hearts by this tragedy.” He also expressed his “spiritual closeness” with the people of God in Libya.

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.