Marrakech – The Qatari International Search and Rescue Team (affiliated to the Internal Security Force (Lekhwiya) led by Major Khalid Abdullah Al-Humaidi made great efforts in search and rescue operations in several areas destroyed by the earthquake in Al-Haouz province, efforts that were officially and popularly welcomed.

A few hours after the 7-magnitude earthquake struck the Al-Hawz area, the Qatari international search and rescue team arrived to help rescue the victims from the rubble.

The Qatari International Search and Rescue Team worked in several areas within the Al-Haouz region (Lekhwiya Public Relations)

Quick Response

Qatar was the first Arab country to arrive in Morocco as the Spanish team arrived to provide assistance. In addition to them, Morocco received two teams from the United Arab Emirates and Britain.

Al-Humaidi confirmed to Al Jazeera Net that "based on the high directives of His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the movement of the Qatari search and rescue team has been accelerated to support the brothers in the Kingdom of Morocco, and to provide a helping hand to those affected."

Communication channels have been opened with international organisations, as well as with the competent Moroccan authorities and the Moroccan Search and Rescue Authority, to determine the action plan and the necessary equipment and follow up on the latest updates on the general situation in the region, he said.

The Qatari team succeeded in saving the life of a Moroccan girl and handed her over to the health authorities (Lekhwiya Public Relations)

He said that as soon as the Qatari international search and rescue team, which includes 105 rescuers, arrived in Morocco, the Qatari team was keen to donate blood to help those injured by the earthquake, and then established the International Urban Search and Rescue Teams (UCC) cell in the Amizmiz area of the Haouz province (south of Marrakesh) to organize the operations of international rescue teams at work sites and coordinate with the local authority.

Major Hamidi added that the working group was divided into two groups, each operating in a specific area, in cooperation with the Coordination Cell of the International Urban Search and Rescue Teams and the competent Moroccan authorities.

Qatar's International Search and Rescue Team praised the cooperation of the local people with them (Lekhwiya Public Relations)

The first group worked in easily accessible areas hit by the earthquake and subsequently provided humanitarian services in the area, while the other group worked to reach remote areas where no rescue team had reached due to the interruption of roads leading to them. They conducted reconnaissance flights using a helicopter in coordination with the Moroccan authorities.

The work areas were in the hills of Niakov, which were completely destroyed by the earthquake, Emintla, Agbar and Egil, in addition to areas in the Taroudant province in the south, in addition to many roundabouts hanging from the mountains.

Members of the Qatar International Search and Rescue Team (Lekhwiya Public Relations)

Advanced Devices

Al-Humaidi confirmed to Al Jazeera Net that the Qatari team is equipped with the latest mechanisms and rescue equipment, including special devices to search for those trapped under the rubble, thermal cameras, cameras capable of infiltrating between the rubble of stones, and sound detectors that can determine the source of any sound coming from among the rubble.

He explained that the team faced some difficulties in reaching some of the affected areas at the highest peaks of the Atlas Mountains, where they had to walk a long distance sometimes because the vehicles could not be used due to the ruggedness of the road, noting that the Moroccan authorities provided them with a helicopter so that they could reach the affected roundabouts.

Rescue efforts continued despite difficult mountainous terrain (Lekhwiya Public Relations)

He also said that the Qatari search and rescue team managed to rescue a Moroccan woman about 13 years old, who was handed over to the competent medical authorities, and recovered the bodies of 5 victims who died in the violent earthquake.

The captain of the Qatari team praised the reaction of the Moroccans in supporting the efforts of the Qatari international search and rescue team, saying, "When they saw us working through the rubble of stones, they would come to us and offer help, and they expressed their strong desire to cooperate in a way that impressed us."

The Qatari international search and rescue team returned to the country yesterday after long and arduous days of work in the villages and roundabouts of the Atlas Mountains, leaving a good response among the population.

Members of the Qatar International Search and Rescue Team (Lekhwiya Public Relations)

Thank you telegram

King Mohammed VI of Morocco sent a cable of thanks to the commander of the Qatari International Rescue and Relief Brigade (Al-Humaidi) on the occasion of participating in search and rescue operations following the earthquake that struck the Al-Haouz region.

"It is our pride to extend to you, on our own behalf and on behalf of the Moroccan people, our sincere thanks and gratitude for the magnanimous and generous participation of your team alongside your Moroccan brothers in the search and rescue operations following the tragic earthquake that struck the Haouz region of our country," the cable reads.

"These noble efforts, which embody the depth of your sincere brotherly feelings and sincere love for your second country, Morocco, are typical of the brotherly Qatari people, as much as they reflect the extent to which you are imbued with the lofty and ideal values of our Islamic religion, which are based on cooperation, solidarity and solidarity," he added.

Arab Cooperation

Regarding Arab cooperation in the field of search and rescue during disasters and crises, Al-Humaidi told Al Jazeera Net that the Qatari Colonel Mubarak Sherida Al-Kaabi, who is the current regional head of the International Advisory Group for Search and Rescue Teams in the Middle East, Africa and Europe, presented an initiative that organizes a working group between Arabic-speaking countries in the field of search and rescue, and has been approved.

The bumpy road made the search and rescue team walk long distances (Lekhwiya PR)

He added that this body met about 3 weeks ago, and will hold another meeting next October, where Arab countries will participate in discussing the action plan for the success of this initiative, develop the capabilities of search and rescue teams in the region, conclude agreements to ensure a rapid response to the affected countries within the Arabic-speaking group, and coordinate the efforts of the teams during participation in international missions.

The United Nations International Search and Rescue Advisory Group selected Qatar as the regional leader of search and rescue teams from Africa, Europe and the Middle East for 2023, in recognition of the important role played by the Qatar Search and Rescue Group in responding quickly to a number of disasters around the world.