Collapses that cost lives, billions and threaten the security of Moroccans

With all the bad weather that Morocco has suffered, the problem of the collapse of healthy or unhealthy buildings is coming back to the fore. It has become a major concern, almost daily for citizens and for the authorities, without the Kingdom being able to eliminate them, or even to evacuate them from their inhabitants or failing to restructure or restore those who have not. been completely damaged.

During these recent rains which flood the city of Casablanca, Moroccans were able to follow at leisure on social networks the dramatic collapse of a house in the district of Derb Moulay Cherif in Hay Mohammadi, in the governorate of Ain Sebaa as well as , others, across the country such as Mohammedia in particular. The Ministry of National Land Use Planning, Town Planning, Housing and City Policy, for the time being and more than a day after the tragedy has still not communicated in due course. No data concerning these incidents were provided to the public opinion leaving the most incredulous rumors circulating here and there while billions of dirhams have been allocated to this program. The fight against this habitat unworthy of humans is however a priority of the action of the public authorities. The primary objective, being to evacuate the occupants of situations of insecurity of indignity and unhealthy housing and buildings that are remediable or irremediable presenting dangers for their safety or that of the neighborhood, as well as for their life and health, and all the nice words on paper, etc.

Official data indicates that the city of Casablanca alone signed a contract with 20,000 buildings in 2020 and a total of 11,500 families who lived in such buildings have benefited, indicating that 7 new agreements have been signed involving over 3080 buildings. This brings the number to 14,000 buildings, while 6,000 buildings are at risk of collapsing onto their residents at any time.

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The national program for the treatment of dilapidated buildings costs the Moroccan state more than 4.8 billion dirhams, to which the aforementioned supervisory ministry contributes around one billion dirhams, the remainder being intended for other stakeholders. It comprises 33,732 buildings, 80% of which are in urban areas.

Despite the billions that the state has spent on this program, what Hespress has learned from the opinions of families living in the collapsed building in question two days ago in Casablanca, confirms that they have contacted the authorities in connection the substandard housing rehabilitation program. They presented the material and human logistics to the territorial authority in order to find a solution. But the promises made by the latter have never succeeded or been kept, hence the tragedy. However, a number of buildings against which demolition orders have been issued remain standing, still standing until they collapse on their occupants.

This is what happened in 2017, after the collapse of a building near the royal mosque in the old city of Casablanca. The Ministry of National Land Use Planning, Town Planning, Housing and City Policy was released at the time, with clarifications indicating that the three-storey building had been identified by the competent authorities, and a decision was rendered on June 13, 2012 to demolish it, explaining that one family among those living there had completely refused to leave it. Knowing in this that the processing of the files of these buildings must be carried out in full coordination and cooperation with all the parties concerned, families living there and owners of these places.

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Nouzha Bouchareb, Minister of National Land Use Planning, Town Planning, Housing and City Policy, revealed that, as part of the national program for the restoration of dilapidated buildings, since 2012, that more 43,700 dwellings were counted, 83% of which are inhabited by citizens, confirming that the government is designing and making enormous efforts under this program to save lives and improve conditions for the population.

The minister affirmed that the treatment of the dilapidated building takes place in several stages, either total demolition, or reconstruction when it presents a danger or partial demolition with reinforcement of the building if it is able to continue, stressing that random compensation is provided to resident owners. Which is probably not the case for the victims of these last days.

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