Morocco sets aside nearly $12 billion for quake recovery

Morocco sets aside nearly $12 billion for quake recovery
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Students attend an assembly outside classroom tents at a make-shift school in the earthquake-hit village of Asni in al-Haouz province in the High Atlas mountains of central Morocco on September 18, 2023. (Fadel Sena/AFP)
Morocco sets aside nearly $12 billion for quake recovery
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A medic checks-up displaced people in a school between Marrakech and Taroudant in the Atlas mountain range on September 17, 2023, in the aftermath of a powerful earthquake. (Bulent Kilic/AFP)
Morocco sets aside nearly $12 billion for quake recovery
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A medic checks-up displaced people in a school between Marrakech and Taroudant in the Atlas mountain range on September 17, 2023, in the aftermath of a powerful earthquake. (Bulent Kilic/AFP)
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Updated 23 September 2023
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Morocco sets aside nearly $12 billion for quake recovery

Morocco sets aside nearly $12 billion for quake recovery
  • Fund to be used for reconstruction in places affected by the September 8 earthquake

RABAT: Quake-hit Morocco’s government announced on Wednesday a budget of more than $11 billion for reconstruction, rehousing and socio-economic development of areas hit by the deadly disaster.
The 6.8-magnitude earthquake hit Al-Haouz province south of Marrakech on September 8, killing nearly 3,000 people and injuring thousands more.
The government said in a statement it was setting aside 120 billion dirhams ($11.7 billion) to help 4.2 million inhabitants affected by the quake over a period of five years.
The funds would be used to “rehouse affected people, reconstruct homes and restore infrastructure,” said the statement published at the end of a meeting chaired by King Mohammed VI.
The earthquake razed thousands of homes in central Morocco, including the High Atlas mountain range, forcing families to sleep out in the open with winter around the corner.

 


 


US vice president calls for restraint as Israel strikes southern Gaza

US vice president calls for restraint as Israel strikes southern Gaza
Updated 9 sec ago
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US vice president calls for restraint as Israel strikes southern Gaza

US vice president calls for restraint as Israel strikes southern Gaza
  • Kamala Harris says Israel has a right to defend itself but must respect international, humanitarian law
  • King Abdullah stresses the need for the US to play a leading role in pushing for peace in Palestine

GAZA/CAIRO: US Vice President Kamala Harris said too many innocent Palestinians had been killed in Gaza as Israeli war planes and artillery bombarded the enclave on Saturday following the collapse of a truce with Hamas militants.
Speaking in Dubai, Harris said Israel had a right to defend itself, but international and humanitarian law must be respected and “too many innocent Palestinians have been killed.”
“Frankly, the scale of civilian suffering, and the images and videos coming from Gaza, are devastating,” Harris told reporters.
On the sidelines of COP28, Jordan’s King Abdullah II and the US Vice President met in Dubai, reported the Jordan News Agency.
King Abdullah stressed the need for the US to play a leading role in pushing for a political horizon for the Palestinian issue to reach peace on the basis of the two-state solution, during his meeting with Harris.
The King called for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza and protecting civilians, warning of the repercussions of the continued war on international peace and security, including further violence and conflict that could plunge the entire region into a catastrophe.
The two sides reaffirmed their rejection of any attempts of forced displacement of the Palestinians internally or outside Gaza, or attempts to re-occupy any parts of the Strip, reported Petra.
King Abdullah also stressed the importance of maintaining the uninterrupted delivery of sufficient aid, including food, water, fuel, and electricity, without any impediments, warning against the targeting of hospitals and hindering the delivery of medical supplies.
Meanwhile, Harris thanked King Abdullah for his continued leadership in addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and for Jordan’s leadership in providing vital humanitarian assistance to Gaza, including its three airdrops of medical supplies to the field hospital that it has established in Gaza.
She discussed the importance of the recent pause in the fighting between Israel and Hamas, and the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to supporting efforts to reach a new deal. She also discussed the US ideas for post-conflict planning in Gaza, including efforts on reconstruction, security, and governance.
The US vice president emphasized that these efforts can only succeed if they are pursued in the context of a clear political horizon for the Palestinian people, toward a state of their own led by a revitalized Palestinian Authority and backed by significant support from the international community and the countries of the region.
In a news conference in Tel Aviv, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said later on Saturday that Israel was continuing to work in coordination with the US and international organizations to define “safe areas” for Gaza civilians.
“This is important because we have no desire to harm the population,” Netanyahu said. “We have a very strong desire to hurt Hamas.”
Harris also sketched out a US vision for post-conflict Gaza, saying the international community must support recovery and Palestinian security forces must be strengthened.
“We want to see a unified Gaza and West Bank under the Palestinian Authority, and Palestinian voices and aspirations must be at the center of this work,” she said, adding that Hamas must no longer run Gaza.
The Western-backed Palestinian Authority governs parts of the occupied West Bank. Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007 from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ mainstream Fatah party and has ruled the enclave ever since.

* With Reuters 


Israeli strike destroys prestige Qatar-funded Gaza complex

Israeli strike destroys prestige Qatar-funded Gaza complex
Updated 03 December 2023
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Israeli strike destroys prestige Qatar-funded Gaza complex

Israeli strike destroys prestige Qatar-funded Gaza complex
  • The Gaza health ministry said at least 193 Palestinians had been killed since the truce ended on Friday, adding to the more than 15,000 Palestinian dead since the start of the war
  • Israel said it had recalled a team from Qatar, host of indirect negotiations with Hamas, accusing the Palestinian faction of reneging on a deal to free all the women and children it was holding

KHAN YUNIS, Palestinian Territories: At almost exactly the same time Israeli negotiators pulled out of deadlocked truce talks in Qatar on Saturday, Israeli jets sent a prestige Doha-funded housing development in the Gaza Strip up in smoke.
Hamad City is named for the former emir of the Gulf petro-state, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, who laid the foundation stone on a visit 11 years ago.
Inaugurated in 2016, it was still among the newest projects in the Gaza Strip, the housing complex in the city of Khan Yunis boasting an impressive mosque, shops and gardens.
The first flats — more than 1,000 of them — were provided to Palestinians whose homes were destroyed in the war between Israel and Hamas two years earlier.
On Saturday it happened again, a day after a Qatar-brokered pause in the current war between Israel and Hamas expired.
First their phones pinged around noon with an “immediate” evacuation order SMS sent by the Israeli army, which says the system is aimed at minimizing civilian casualties.
Around an hour later, five Israeli air strikes rained down on the neighborhood in the space of just two minutes.
Bombs slammed into the pale apartment blocks one by one, reducing them largely to rubble and sending a huge pall of black smoke into the sky, as people fled and cries of ‘help!’ and ‘ambulance!’ rang out.
“At least we got through it,” 26-year-old Nader Abu Warda told AFP, amazed he was still alive.

The Israeli military has divided the Gaza Strip into 2,300 “blocs” and is now sending SMS messages to residents telling them to leave before they launch the strikes which they say will “eliminate Hamas.”
Around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, died in the Islamist movement’s October 7 assault on southern Israel and some 240 were taken hostage, according to Israeli authorities.
The Hamas-led Gaza Strip government says Israel’s campaign has killed more than 15,000 people, also mostly civilians, since it was launched eight weeks ago.
The United Nations humanitarian agency, OCHA, has highlighted that the warning messages do not indicate where the recipients should go.
Ibrahim Al-Jamal, a civil servant in his 40s, said he does not have any “Internet, any electricity or even a radio to receive information” and that he has “never seen this map” setting out the different blocs.
“Many people in Gaza have never heard of it and it wouldn’t matter anyway as the bombings are taking place everywhere,” he said.
Humanitarian bodies say the most vulnerable in Gaza are the estimated 1.7 million displaced people.
Many of them do not have access to phones and have to rely on warning leaflets dropped by planes, not visible from inside an apartment.

According to the Gaza Strip’s Civil Defense emergency and rescue organization, in recent weeks “hundreds of displaced families” had been taking refuge in 3,000 apartments at Hamad City.
Mohammed Foura, 21, already displaced once from Gaza City, told AFP that half an hour before the strike he had been warned by other residents to flee.
They shouted “get out, get out,” he said, as families piled their belongings into cars or carried them away in enormous bundles.
Nader Abu Warda fled Jabalia, near Gaza City, at the start of the war and no longer knows which way to go or what to do.
He, his wife and three children had been staying in a friend’s apartment in the complex.
“They told us ‘Gaza City is a war zone’, now it’s Khan Yunis,” he said. “Yesterday, they were saying ‘evacuate the east of Khan Yunis’. Today, they say ‘evacuate the west’,” he added, visibly exasperated.
“Where are we going now, into the sea? Where are we going to put our children to bed?“

 


UAE leader meets US vice president, other leaders on sidelines of COP28 in Dubai

UAE leader meets US vice president, other leaders on sidelines of COP28 in Dubai
Updated 03 December 2023
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UAE leader meets US vice president, other leaders on sidelines of COP28 in Dubai

UAE leader meets US vice president, other leaders on sidelines of COP28 in Dubai
  • Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Kamala Harris discuss areas of cooperation
  • Sheikh also meets leaders of Italy, Poland, Albania

LONDON: UAE President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed held talks with US Vice President Kamala Harris on Saturday on the sidelines of COP28 in Dubai, state news agency WAM reported.

During the meeting, the officials stressed the importance of the conference in fostering cooperation to combat climate change worldwide and highlighted their countries’ collaborations on renewable energy and sustainable development.

The meeting also looked at the wider US-UAE relationship and explored ways to advance ties in various fields. A number of regional and international issues of mutual interest were also discussed, including the latest developments in the Palestinian territories.

“The importance of working toward a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip, protecting civilians, providing secure channels to deliver humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza without obstruction, preventing their displacement and identifying a clear political horizon based on the two-state solution to achieve regional stability and peace were also highlighted,” the WAM report said.

Sheikh Mohammed also held individual meetings with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, Polish President Andrzej Duda and Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama.

The leaders discussed ways to increase cooperation between their respective nations as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest.

Sheikh Mohammed also stressed the need for collective action to achieve practical results with regard to tackling climate change.

The heads of several foreign delegations commended the UAE president’s initiative, launched at COP28, to create a $30 billion fund to tackle the funding gap in global climate action.


GCC foreign ministers to hold preparatory meeting ahead of leaders’ summit in Doha

GCC foreign ministers to hold preparatory meeting ahead of leaders’ summit in Doha
Updated 03 December 2023
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GCC foreign ministers to hold preparatory meeting ahead of leaders’ summit in Doha

GCC foreign ministers to hold preparatory meeting ahead of leaders’ summit in Doha
  • 158th ministerial meeting will be chaired by Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman

RIYADH: Gulf ministers are set to gather on Sunday to hold a preparatory meeting in Qatar’s capital Doha ahead of the 44th Gulf Cooperation Council Summit, the bloc said in a statement on Saturday.
GCC Secretary-General Jasem Albudaiwi said the bloc’s 158th ministerial meeting will be chaired by Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman — whose country is also the current president of the ministerial council — and will be attended by member states’ foreign ministers.
Albudaiwi said the meeting is a continuation of the preparations underway for the launch of the 44th session of the GCC Supreme Council, scheduled to be held on Tuesday in Doha in the presence of Gulf leaders.
He added that during the ministerial meeting, several reports will be discussed regarding the implementation of decisions issued by the Supreme Council at the 43rd summit in the Saudi capital Riyadh last year, as well as memoranda and reports submitted by the ministerial and technical committees and the General Secretariat.
The meeting will also cover topics related to dialogues and strategic relations between GCC states and other countries and international blocs, in addition to the latest regional and international developments.


US VP Harris calls for restraint as Israel strikes southern Gaza

US VP Harris calls for restraint as Israel strikes southern Gaza
Updated 03 December 2023
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US VP Harris calls for restraint as Israel strikes southern Gaza

US VP Harris calls for restraint as Israel strikes southern Gaza
  • Jordan’s King Abdullah II and the US Vice President Kamala Harris meet in Dubai on the sidelines of COP28
  • King Abdullah stressed the need for the US to play a leading role in pushing for a political horizon for the Palestinian issue to reach peace on the basis of the two-state solution

GAZA/CAIRO: US Vice President Kamala Harris said too many innocent Palestinians had been killed in Gaza as Israeli war planes and artillery bombarded the enclave on Saturday following the collapse of a truce with Hamas militants.
Speaking in Dubai, Harris said Israel had a right to defend itself, but international and humanitarian law must be respected and “too many innocent Palestinians have been killed.”
“Frankly, the scale of civilian suffering, and the images and videos coming from Gaza, are devastating,” Harris told reporters.
On the sidelines of COP28, Jordan’s King Abdullah II and the US Vice President met in Dubai, reported the Jordan News Agency.
King Abdullah stressed the need for the US to play a leading role in pushing for a political horizon for the Palestinian issue to reach peace on the basis of the two-state solution, during his meeting with Harris.
The King called for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza and protecting civilians, warning of the repercussions of the continued war on international peace and security, including further violence and conflict that could plunge the entire region into a catastrophe.
The two sides reaffirmed their rejection of any attempts of forced displacement of the Palestinians internally or outside Gaza, or attempts to re-occupy any parts of the Strip, reported Petra.
King Abdullah also stressed the importance of maintaining the uninterrupted delivery of sufficient aid, including food, water, fuel, and electricity, without any impediments, warning against the targeting of hospitals and hindering the delivery of medical supplies.
Meanwhile, Harris thanked King Abdullah for his continued leadership in addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and for Jordan’s leadership in providing vital humanitarian assistance to Gaza, including its three airdrops of medical supplies to the field hospital that it has established in Gaza.
She discussed the importance of the recent pause in the fighting between Israel and Hamas, and the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to supporting efforts to reach a new deal. She also discussed the US ideas for post-conflict planning in Gaza, including efforts on reconstruction, security, and governance.
The US vice president emphasized that these efforts can only succeed if they are pursued in the context of a clear political horizon for the Palestinian people, toward a state of their own led by a revitalized Palestinian Authority and backed by significant support from the international community and the countries of the region.
In a news conference in Tel Aviv, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said later on Saturday that Israel was continuing to work in coordination with the US and international organizations to define “safe areas” for Gaza civilians.
“This is important because we have no desire to harm the population,” Netanyahu said. “We have a very strong desire to hurt Hamas.”
Harris also sketched out a US vision for post-conflict Gaza, saying the international community must support recovery and Palestinian security forces must be strengthened.
“We want to see a unified Gaza and West Bank under the Palestinian Authority, and Palestinian voices and aspirations must be at the center of this work,” she said, adding that Hamas must no longer run Gaza.
The Western-backed Palestinian Authority governs parts of the occupied West Bank. Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007 from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ mainstream Fatah party and has ruled the enclave ever since.

* With Reuters