Spain will send search and rescue teams and other aid to quake-hit Morocco after it received a formal request for help from Rabat, Spanish foreign minister Jose Manuel Albares said Sunday.
“It is a sign of Spanish solidarity and of the sense of friendship which unites the people of Spain with the people of Morocco,” he said during an interview with Catalunya Radio, adding he received a call from his Moroccan counterpart requesting the aid in the early hours of Sunday.
“It will be as much aid as Morocco needs, at first what we are setting in motion are search and rescue teams because it is urgent to try to find the greatest number of people alive to save them. When it is time for reconstruction, Spanish aid will also be present.”
Albares did not provide further details but an interior ministry spokesman said the government was preparing to “immediately” send 65 members of Spain’s Military Emergencies Unit (UME) to Morocco to help in the search and rescue operation.
The UME is a body of the armed forces that was created to intervene quickly in emergency situations such as forest fires, floods and earthquakes.
A UME unit was sent to Turkey in February following a devastating earthquake and helped rescue six people, including a mother and two children, according to Spain’s defence ministry.
The strongest-ever quake to hit Morocco has killed at least 2,012 people and injured over 2,059, many of them critically, according to the latest official figures.