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Blood Brothers: Moroccans Answer Call for Blood Donation

After the powerful 7-magnitude earthquake that shook both Morocco’s earth and its people’s souls, donations flowed in from all corners of the country and the world, including food, tents, medicines, blankets, and blood. This catastrophe that Morocco experienced led to an outpouring of empathy, nationalism, solidarity, and collaboration that were evident in blood donation centers all over the Kingdom.

People from all walks of life in Morocco, from King Mohammed VI to civil servants, military members, police officers, diplomats and tourists; even professional footballers, did not hesitate to give blood. They answered the call and appeared in droves at Marrakech’s Regional Blood Transfusion Center and other health centers around the country from Tangier to the far Southern provinces.

Yet, the blood supply in Morocco is still low, posing significant challenges for healthcare professionals to confront.

Last Sunday, more than 6,000 people came to the transfusion centers to give their blood. Before Tuesday’s noon, at Irfan Blood Donation Center in Rabat, the queue already exceeded 700 donors, the maximum capacity the center could handle. In many centers, the employees had to send prospective donors away, given the large flow of people they received in the centers, which exceeded the number of people they had. Now, centers are very clearly advertising that they can take no more than 700 donors per day.

Starting from the highest authority in the Kingdom, King Mohammed VI visited victims who were admitted to the Marrakech University Hospital, and chose to make a blood donation in solidarity with the victims and the bereaved families.

Rayhane Ouhari, blood donor, told Barlaman Today that she came to the center accompanied by her father to help her fellow Moroccans affected by the tragedy. Ouhari was already aware before she came that one person can save 6 lives. She said that it is an opportunity to show solidarity and compassion. She added that everyone is trying to help in its own way, some gave money, others sent food, blankets, tents, while the rest are donating blood.

The center was also full of police officers and auxiliary forces, who are not only working to save lives in the field, but also giving their own personal blood, time, and energy. On Monday, head of National Police (DGSN) and Territorial Surveillance Services (DGST) Hammouchi called upon all security forces in the country to participate in a large-scale blood drive.

From the green pitch to blood donation centers, many members of the Moroccan Men’s National Football team turned up to participate in the blood donation campaign last Saturday, at one of Agadir’s blood donation centers instead of playing their friendly against Liberia. Many players on the women’s team, who recently returned from Australia, also followed suit, and donated privately. Raja and Wydad players also made a group contribution to the blood donation facility.

Perhaps inspired by their clubs, many fans and Ultras, including Ultras Green Boys, Ultras Eagles, and Ultras Winners, descended on a blood drive site to make large blood donations, and provided over 2,000 liters of blood in different cities.

Many diplomatic missions, especially Arabs ones, massively participated in this humanitarian campaign. The Lebanese Ambassador Ziad Atallah told Barlaman Today that the “Lebanese community responded to the Embassy request to donate blood to our brothers in Morocco.” He added that Morocco and Lebanon have strong and historic ties, and the Lebanese community’s response to the call is proof. He concluded by wishing quick recovery to the injured.

President of the Cercle Diplomatique, Zeina Barakat Atallah, the spouse of the Lebanese Ambassador, told the press that it was her first time donating blood, and she did so for the benefit of “our people in Marrakech.”

The Palestinian diplomatic mission was present as well, and the Palestinian ambassador’s wife Rania Abideen Chabouki came to the Irfan Blood Donation center for the same reason. She said that the mission and the community are sorry for Morocco’s loss and crisis. She added that the wives of ambassadors of Arabic countries make a call to donate more to help their “brothers, sisters and friends.”

This is not the first time Moroccan people have shown such solidarity: the response of Morocco and Moroccans to COVID-19 era was another moment in the history of Morocco where people came together for the common good, and showed their true bond. They also showed empathy and solidarity following the fall of the little Rayane in a 32m wall near Chefchaouen in February 2022.

Thanks to this spirit, Moroccans won the hearts of other nations, and inspired them to extend helping hands and show solidarity with Morocco, as did the Lebanese and Palestinian community with blood, and other nations as UAE, Qatar, UK, and Spain with rescue groups sent to the Kingdom.